Mental Health Practices to Start Today [Episode #544]
Our cornerstones here at Solluna are food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. And it’s very easy, very obvious for a lot of us to focus on food, because of course we’re putting it into our bodies. We can see it, we smell it, it’s physical in one sense, as everything really is vibrating and moving in another sense.
It’s easy to focus on food, but if we don’t take this balanced approach and really work on all of the cornerstones, then we never get the best results.
Something that I’ve seen time and time again over the years is how when we shift our mental health, when we start to have a different perspective and we expand and we open up and we are able to deal with stress better. We let go of rigidity and become more open and forgiving. We become more grateful and we embrace community.
All these different aspects of mental health, we tend to have an easier time maintaining our weight. We have a much easier time getting rid of food cravings and being motivated to exercise, go in the sunlight, smile more and to be happier. In turn, this has a real effect on our hormones, our nervous system, our endocrine system and so many different parts of our body, and our being in general.
We want to set time aside for mental health and emotional wellbeing, and this could take on many different forms as we’ll get into our questions today.
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Inspirational Thought of the Week
The body and the mind are not connected. They are actually one continuous system.
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Note: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate. This is due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
Hi Beauties and welcome back to our Thursday Q&A community show, where our topic today is Mental Health Practices to Start Today. And I love this show, I love this whole topic, because our cornerstones here at Solluna are food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. And it’s very easy, very obvious for a lot of us to focus on food, because of course we’re taking matter and we’re putting it into our bodies. So we can see it, we smell it, it’s physical. [00:00:30] It is physical at least in one sense. Everything really is vibrating and moving in another sense. But anyways, it’s easy to focus on food, but if we don’t take this balanced approach and really work on all of the cornerstones, then we never get the best results.
And so something that I’ve seen time and time again over the years is how when we shift our mental health, when we start to have a different perspective and we expand and we open up and we are able to deal with [00:01:00] stress better, and we let go of rigidity and we become more open and we become more forgiving, we become more grateful and we embrace community, all these different aspects of mental health, we tend to have an easier time maintaining our weight. We have a much easier time getting rid of food cravings. This was my personal experience. We have an easier time being motivated to work out, to exercise, to go in the sunlight, to just smile more, to be happier. And [00:01:30] this, in turn, has a real effect on our hormones, on our nervous system, on our endocrine system, on so many different parts of our body, and our being in general.
So I really love also addressing this topic as a practice. It’s something that we want to pay attention to, just the same way that we make our Glowing Green Smoothie, and we drink hot water with lemon, and we meal plan and we meal prep, and we take time to exercise. We also want to set time aside for mental [00:02:00] health and emotional wellbeing, and this means… This could take on many different forms as we’ll get into our questions today, but it’s very important.
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Question 1: What activities help mental health when it comes to physical activities? Is too much exercise counter-productive?
All right, all that being said, let’s get right into our topic today, which again is mental health practices to start today. The first comes from Susan who lives in Australia, and she writes, “What activities help mental health when it comes to physical activities? Is too exercise [00:03:00] counterproductive?” So I think that this is a great, great question, Susan, and I definitely think it’s funny sometimes, the way you guys phrase the questions where the answer is in the question. And sometimes, we question our own intuition, but it comes across. Because the second part of your question, “Is too much exercise counterproductive,” is coming from that wisdom place inside of you, Susan, where I think deep down, you already know the answer, which is yes.
I think that everything needs to be a balance. And the problem is if we ignore one or two of the cornerstones, as I’ve said before, if we ignore mental health, we tend to obsess over one of the other ones. We can obsess over food, or we can become an obsessive workout person, because that’s the time that we get some kind of lift. We get a kind of euphoric feeling from our workouts, which is great, but we also want to be able to [00:04:00] create the space and create a lifestyle where we’re able to feel safe and expanded and good in our lives not just when we’re exercising. So physical exercise is great for mental health. I think it’s very important that we move our bodies. We’re meant to be dynamic beings, and so that is definitely important, but there is such a thing as overexercise. There is a point when we are just torturing our bodies and overexerting [00:04:30] our bodies.
Unless we’re some sort of Olympic athlete, we can actually inflame our system. We can create oxidative stress, which is where there is actual inflammation from exercise, and our bodies are not able to adequately deal with that. So there is a level of free radicals that start to be created, and some aging that does occur.
Now, don’t misinterpret [00:05:00] this. I’m not saying not to exercise. I think exercise is important, but I think beyond a certain amount, and we know what that limit is for us, we’re just taxing our system, and we could be using that time to focus on the other cornerstones. We could be using that time instead to journal, to reach out to community, to meditate, to have stillness and just space. And so we don’t need to overexercise. When it does come to exercise, though, for me, [00:05:30] my favorite forms of exercise are yoga and walking. And those are the two that… Pretty much my main two forms of exercise that I’ve been doing for many, many years. And I go in phases, so right now I’m doing my full meditation practice, which is my yoga. But I do more walks, because I just like to get outside and I like to get the sunlight on my skin a bit.
So anyways, for me, when I walk… And I think it’s one of the best [00:06:00] things for stress and for the mind. You’re moving, you’re not overtaxing. So you’re still in this state where there’s a sense of presence and a sense of stillness, and actually some of my best ideas come to me on my walks. I’m just listening to the birds chirp, and I’m not trying to push anything. And a lot of ideas actually come in, whether it’s for my new book, or it’s for an idea for like a social media post, or something that has to do [00:06:30] with one of our projects. And so I jot them down in the notes part of my phone, and I keep walking. And so I know that there’s a lot of inspiration and focus for me which comes from those daily walks. I think that everybody’s different, though.
I think some people like more intense workouts, like if you have a Peloton bike at home or you do some kind of CrossFit or something like that. But once you do your complete workout, which let’s say takes an hour or maybe a bit longer for some of us, it’s time [00:07:00] to move on with the day, and more exercise is not necessarily going to be extra beneficial. But if you’re looking to focus the mind, de-stress the mind, what I do recommend, Susan, instead of more working out is to actually do mini-meditations throughout the day, where you can just close your eyes, take some deep breaths, let your shoulders relax, let your body relax, get into a good posture, and just take 8 or 10 breaths and just reset yourself, [00:07:30] recenter yourself. Or you could get up and you could do just a five-minute walk to get some oxygen to change your environment, but you don’t need to keep working out.
It’s like when we keep obsessing over food to see if it can be more and more perfect, and we could eat more and more perfectly. And there comes a point where we have completed what we can do in that cornerstone, and it is very much time to allocate our energy to the next cornerstone. And that way, we really do get the best results. It’s [00:08:00] like if we have a chair with four legs, and no matter how much we shine and buff one of those legs, if one of the legs is missing, the chair is never going to be really strong and stable. So I suggest, Susan, you have your workout practice, whether it’s walking or whatever works for you, and then the rest of your free time and the time you can spend on yourself and your self care is reallocated to the other cornerstones. But thank you so [00:08:30] much for this question. I love it, and I think it’s important that we talk about ways to stay balanced within our lifestyle.
Question 2: I thought heading into this new year I would be on better track with my intentions, but I’m having constant brain fog and can’t get out of my own head. Do you have any tips on how to move through this?
All right, next question comes from Amy, who lives in Wisconsin, and she writes, “I thought heading into this new year I would be on better track with my intentions, but I’m having constant brain fog and can’t get out of my own head. Do you have any tips on how to move through this?” You know, Amy, I think that we could have the best ideas about New Year’s [00:09:00] and how things are meant to be and meant to work out in this exact timing, but then sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way that we feel that they should, and that’s okay. Here we are still in January, and we are still kicking off the year.
So if it didn’t get off to the exact start that you were wanting to create, that’s okay, because every day is essentially New Year’s when we wake up and we have a fresh clean start. So [00:09:30] I would say to think about what is it that you are wanting to create right now. So you mentioned your intentions. How vivid, how clear are they to you right now? And I would pick your top two, maybe three intentions, and focus first on those. So maybe one of your intentions is to eat healthier, one of your intentions is to have a meditation [00:10:00] practice, and one of your intentions is something related to your work, to finish a project or to get promoted or something like that. I would write down your intentions. So first of all, write them down in your journal, get really clear, get really vivid, get really detailed about what it is that you’re looking to create.
And then I want you to focus, and you can write this down, the feeling of each of your intentions. So what does that bring you? Let’s say [00:10:30] when you start to meditate, what are the feelings that you’re looking to create? Peacefulness, bliss, relaxation, equanimity. And when you start eating better or on track, let’s say some of the feelings are energy, clarity, groundedness, whatever it is. So I want you to focus on the feelings of your intentions as well. Because when we start to create a link [00:11:00] between what we’re going to feel and our actual intention, then that becomes a lot stronger than just this idea that could look good on paper. It might sound good to other people, but unless we have an emotional connection and tie to it and we start to really connect to the feeling, then that becomes the motivation to bring it in.
That becomes the aligned, matching energy frequency that will start to bring that very thing into your life. [00:11:30] You become excited about it. Now, we still have to do hard work. We still have to focus. These things don’t just magically drop in, but we want to keep the focus, get really clear about the intention, be open about it coming in. But here’s where I am a big believer in breaking things down into smaller steps. Now, sometimes we don’t know all the details, like if we’re trying to make a leap into a different career or into this [00:12:00] one particular company. We don’t have any context yet, or whatever it is. So sometimes we don’t know all the details, and that’s okay, because that’s where the universe does come in and things are interconnected, but we still have to do our part.
We still have to use, as Paramahansa Yogananda says, the great yogi, he says we have to use our dynamic will. We have to put our energy into it. So once we are clear with our intentions, even though there’s a bit of brain fog, maybe it means that it’s just a bit overwhelming to think of things in huge [00:12:30] projects instead of bite-sized pieces. Or maybe you don’t have exact clarity yet, Amy. Either way, get clear, write it down, focus on the feelings, and then start planning small, bite-sized steps. So for instance, with the food part, maybe it is picking one recipe to master. Or as I always say, focus on your morning practice and build up from there. So make your GGS, commit to buying lemons every week, make your hot water with lemon, [00:13:00] maybe hot water with lemon and ginger. Get your SBO probiotics. Start taking small steps and building up, versus thinking about this one big daunting goal.
And it’s either, “I did the goal or I didn’t,” versus, “What are small things that I can keep doing and adding onto?” So you want to just start with that. I would block off an hour, and don’t go on your phone, don’t go on the internet, don’t go on TV, don’t turn on the TV, anything. Just get out your journal and [00:13:30] start really working through these intentions, and create that stillness and that space of feelings. And what are some small steps I can start to do? And the steps part becomes last. So this is something that we actually talk about a lot this month in our Solluna Circle, which is about manifesting success, if you guys are interested in going really deep on some of these topics. And we have our live circle, which is virtual on Zoom every month, and we also talk about these in the group every day.
We have discussion [00:14:00] every day, so that might be something that you’re interested in joining as well, Amy. Otherwise, hope these tips help, and keep in touch with us. Let us know how you’re doing with your intentions.
All right, my loves. We are going to take a short break, and then we will be back to answer two of your questions on this topic, mental health practices to start today.
All right, Beauties. We’re back from our break, and we have two more questions for you guys on this topic, mental health [00:14:30] practices. So mental health, again, has to do with the unseen part of us, so to speak, the emotions, the feelings, the mind. And it connects our physical being with, in a way, our spirit, because our spirit is the deepest part of us, the part that is unchanging, the part that… It’s like taking layers and layers of snake skins [00:15:00] off, and it’s this deep, deep part of us. And when we connect there, we start to open up a lot.
We start to let go of a lot of caring about what other people think as much, and we start to connect more with our confidence, and our emotions, and our feelings start to match that. We start to have more peace. We start to have more consistent joy. But there’s still a lot that we need to process, and it’s important that we have like-minded souls [00:15:30] around us. It’s important that we have community, and it’s important that we do process this part of us. Otherwise, a lot of blockages and inflammation and things can happen in our physical body if we don’t actually really pay attention to our mental health and our emotional body as well. So it all works hand in hand, this system, and I think that it is so powerful. I know for me, the more I’ve been able to let go emotionally of [00:16:00] things from my childhood, ancestral things and teachings and beliefs that didn’t serve me anymore, resentment, stories, sensitivities, just the freer and the lighter I become. And then we worry less and less about food.
It’s funny how much simpler things get. Things just start to work out easier. We’re not so attached to food for shifting our mood, for comfort, [00:16:30] for a sense of security, a sense of grounding. Things really start to benefit us, and it’s really amazing. So that’s what I would want for all of us, to feel that lightness, which is why I’m so passionate about teaching about these cornerstones and how they are so important on this path, and any path really, to really get into deeper and deeper levels of vitality and energy and peace and joy.
Question 3: Inevitably, we’ll always experience some kind of emotional pain. So how do you know when you have solid mental health?
All right, our next [00:17:00] question comes from [Hayley 00:17:01] in Rhode Island, and she writes, “Inevitably, we’ll always experience some kind of emotional pain. So how do you know when you have solid mental health?” I think, Hayley, there’s a lot of things in life that we can never be prepared for, and it may have to do with you, it may have to do with a loved one, but it is then, I think, in times of crisis, in times of [00:17:30] darkness, in times of challenge, it is then when we know our own strength, it is then when we will know our own resilience even if we didn’t know it before that occurrence took place. So I think it’s important now to create the practices like meditation, and breathing, and connecting with yourself and connecting with your body, and authentic journaling, and being able to just write things and creating [00:18:00] a solid community now, so that you have that in place for if and when these sort of crises happen.
So we know at some point, we’re going to have loved ones transition out of their bodies. We know that there are things around us that are things we can’t control. If we look at the way COVID disrupted our world completely, we all know that there is quite a lot of unforeseen [00:18:30] circumstances. So what we want to do is we want to not be so attached to the things that are changing and fleeting and moving. But instead, we want to connect into the parts that don’t change, that don’t move, the inner security, the space for meditation, the connection to your true self, the love and the connection with other community members.
And when you do that, when things come and they shake you, they will still shake you, [00:19:00] but you will have the tools to get through it, and you will be able to get through it. So I was very shaken, as I’ve shared with you before, when my mom got sick, because she was always such a healthy person. And she was diagnosed with cancer on Valentine’s Day much to our shock, and she passed six weeks later, just gone from her physical body. And it really did shake me. It shook my sense of security, [00:19:30] because I think that our mothers are… Since they’re our portals into the world, we get very attached to them. And also, I just assumed she would always be well, at least for a long, long time, because she was so healthy. So it shook me, but I had my practice, and I just really went deep inside. And I breathed, and I cried, and I felt my feelings, and I let them go [00:20:00] one at a time.
And I let the grief waves come and I did a lot of introspection, and a lot of meditation, and a lot of journaling, and a lot of reading, and I made it through. And I believe that this resiliency is part of our human spirit. I don’t think it’s unique to me. But I do think that had I not had that practice, I think it would have been an even much harder experience for me. And so I will say [00:20:30] that it’s important now to create this lifestyle, to create, again, all the things we’re teaching. Stillness, meditation, community such as in our Solluna Circle, and really getting familiar with your journal, creating a morning practice and evening practice, creating rhythms in your life that are steady, so that when things come and they push us around a little bit, so to speak, we still have these steady practices within us and in [00:21:00] our lives, and they will sustain us.
And in times of crisis, it’s true, we get shaken and we go deeper and we come out stronger. And that’s pretty much always the case, I think, unless we collapse and we don’t face what is in front of us, and we then get shaken to our core and we don’t get back up. But that is a choice, it never has to be that way. I think when we breathe through something, [00:21:30] as hard as it may seem in that moment, like childbirth, and we just keep breathing through and we trust, and we know that we’re part of something much, much bigger, much bigger than this event, and as tough as it is, that there’s something there’s a part of you that is completely resilient and completely unbreakable. That’s what the Bhagavad Gita talks about, the soul that can’t be pierced by arrows, withered by [00:22:00] the wind or rain or water.
I’m paraphrasing here, but there’s this part of us that will survive, and can thrive again after crises. So I guess I will say too, Hayley, that very long-winded answer that we will know if we have solid mental health by starting to establish and focus, just by putting awareness and focus on creating practices now. In times of crisis, we will be pushed, we will be challenged, but we can fall deeper into those practices, [00:22:30] which is a much stronger place than trying to manufacture practices on the spot when we had none before. So give it a go, and check out all our different resources to help you get there. And I send you lots of love, a big virtual hug. And yeah, I love this question. Keep in touch with us. And I keep thinking about my own experiences, and that really is [00:23:00] what I want to share, is to go into your practice and to create it, and then to know it’s always there for you.
Question 4: I’m really trying hard this year to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity. What is a good mental health plan that I can start using daily to keep stress at bay?
All right, next question comes from Beth, who lives in Georgia, and she writes, “I’m really trying hard this year to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity. What is a good mental health plan that I can start using daily to keep stress at bay?” Oh, I love this question, Beth, because it’s so practical. And I think it’s really, really important that we focus on this. So [00:23:30] besides meditation, which is where we tune into this very resilient part of us, the strong unwavering part of us, I think one of the best practices is every day and evening… And you could do this, you could modify it as it feels good to you, but is to really make some space to process your feelings. Because remember, events are not stressful. [00:24:00] The rain is there, the traffic is there, the work emails are there.
What is stressful is our response to it, and especially pent-up feelings create stress. If we just feel all these things building and building to a point where steam feels like it’s coming out of our ears, it means everything’s pent-up. So in the morning, if you create a practice for meditation as I do, right afterwards, I journal and I just write out my feelings [00:24:30] about certain things. It could just be five minutes, or I just reflect on things that feel pent-up that I want to let go of. And I literally write, “I now let go of feeling anxious about the outcome of this. I let go of any feelings of resentment towards this person. I let go of putting so much expectation on this timeframe.” So I just think about all the things I can let go.
And the same thing in the evening before bed. After you meditate in the evening, [00:25:00] you can just think of all the things you want to let go of, things you need to process. Now, sometimes you don’t let them go in that moment. First you have to feel them and digest them, and let the feelings come up and then let them wash over you and diminish, and that’s really important. And if we keep doing that incrementally, we won’t have these huge, huge periods of stress as much that just feel overwhelmed, because we’ve kind of been tucking things down underneath the covers and we haven’t looked at things. And that’s when things start to really become chaotic, is when we’re [00:25:30] not really paying attention. So little by little, incrementally, morning and evening, just take, again, five minutes to journal about it which I always find very helpful, or at least reflect on things that you need to let go of, process, pay attention to, feel into, and then let go of so that they don’t continue to build in your system, Beth.
And if you do that day in and day out and you look at things, and again, you keep processing them just the way that we need to digest our food adequately… If we don’t, [00:26:00] we continue to feel bloated. If we don’t, then food tends to stick in our system and in our stomach, and it gets more and more impacted in our GI tracks. And we have a harder time losing weight, and we start to get very haggard looking, so to speak, because our blood isn’t of the highest quality and it keeps redistributing all around our system with toxins. So what we want to do is, again, just incrementally, evening and night, look at… What can I [00:26:30] let go of? What can I breathe into? And then let go. And when we do that consistently, I promise you, you will see a very big difference, Beth. So thank you so much for your question.
Thank you so much for being part of our community. This is a really good one to end on. Okay, my loves. Well, I love this question very much, this topic. I hope that you implement some of these practices today. Let me know how you’re doing. Let me know what else you’re wondering about. Please be sure to submit more questions to us over at mysolluna. [00:27:00] com. I’m going to leave you with a thought of the week now before we sign off, quote of the week. A lot of times now, I think that just short, simple phrases are what I want to leave you with, because I want you to really integrate these ideas and take them into your life.
Thought of the Week
So here it is, and I’ve said this before, but I’m going to say it in a little bit of a different way. “The [00:27:30] body and the mind are not connected. The body and the mind are one continuous system. The body and the mind are not connected. They are actually one continuous system.” So connection means, “Oh, this thing is connected to this thing.” But when we think about it as one system, we think that the energy flows in between and doesn’t add actually [00:28:00] stop and end and start again, but it’s one flow. So we think about that, the power of mental health, the power of our emotional wellbeing means that we’re nurturing our bodies. We’re nurturing our rhythms, our hormones, our digestion, all our systems of the body, and our cardiovascular system.
And in the same way, when we’re taking care of our body and we’re walking and we’re eating well, it’s going to help create clarity and openness. Our gut health is going to increase, and we’re going to be able to think more clearly, [00:28:30] and we’re going to have more equanimity, more calmness in our day. So just think that, guys. This is such an important topic, because it’s not just this auxiliary thing that we take care of, but it’s part of the one system that we are. So I love you so much. I’m so grateful for you. I’ll see you over on the website over on… And also the app, and also on social, which is at @_kimberlysnyder. Sending you lots and lots of love, [00:29:00] and I will see you back here soon.