My dear friend and collaborator, who’s always been my mini-shaman, who tends to sprinkle that something something just when I need to hear it, did it again the other day.
I was starting to panic, a little. It was one of those days when I caught myself reaching too far, thinking that I can do everything at any time at the speed of light, like I’m not even human!
After listening to my verbal panic attack, my shaman friend said, “You can begin again at any moment. When you eat a healthier meal, you’re healthier. When you nurture yourself, you’re healthier. Care for yourself in this moment. Be healthier now.”
Ahhhh! That hit the spot.
We all tend to think we can do it all, or that we HAVE to do it all. And we give ourselves a hard time if we DON’T, somehow imagining that we’re BETTER if we do. We put ourselves right between that rock and a hard place.
The question is: what kind of toll does that take on our body and our mind and our health?
When I overstretch, I notice that no matter how healthy I’m eating, that connection between the brain and the gut -- the second brain -- acts up. I feel that pit in the stomach, the emptiness at the core. It’s taken me 54 years to learn to listen to that gut feeling! That inkling that maybe something is not quite right.
And here’s what happens when you slow down and take care of yourself: you start becoming aware of the smaller, really important, things.
Like taking a deep breath. Most of us breathe shallowly, in our upper chests. What happens when we stop and take a deep rib breath, a deep belly breath, is that we go from that state of anxious tension -- hummingbird, frenetic, from here to there to there -- to grounded, centered, focused.
Listen as family doc Kathy Farah takes us on a Journey of the Breath, a brief (2:39) guided visualization on our breath as it enters our body and nourishes us down to the cellular level, down into our lungs, the pathway she calls “the tree of life.”
Visit The Center for Mind-Body Medicine's self-care page for more great resources.
Watch as my friend and colleague, internationally renowned integrative medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil teaches us how to do 4-7-8 breathing, a deep, yogic breathing technique that can diminish stress and nurture remarkable physiological changes -- including, as noted, help us sleep!
What I don’t think people realize is that all those neurotransmitters in our head, such as serotonin and dopamine, that contribute to a sense of well-being, also are in our gut. Serotonin is the brain’s happy hormone. If you’re under a lot of stress and you’re feeling it in your gut, it sends a message right up to your brain, that something’s not quite right.
If you have that gut feeling, that pit in your stomach, THAT’s when you give yourself permission to take a breath, to reset your body, to take a moment to begin again. And when you step into your kitchen for warming, comforting stress relief.
Culinary Rx for stress, digestive, and sleep relief!*
I learned this warming, mellow brew from the best of the best, Annemarie Colbin, my mentor, nutrition pioneer, founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute, author, and healing food visionary, who passed away last spring. This is one of countless gifts her legacy provides.
Annemarie originally experimented with it as a helpful remedy for digestive disorders. She found that it made her exceedingly mellow besides and that she slept really deeply after drinking it. The trifecta! Culinary alchemy at its best.
*And you didn’t hear it from me, but this elixir makes a heakuva hangover remedy.
Connecting the dots: You can begin again at any moment.
Do a little reset with your breath and get behind the stove and make a little something warm. A cup of chamomile tea... Or this amazing kudzu elixir, which takes all of 6 minutes. What we put in our gut signals our brain.
Signal your body, it’s okay, sweetie! You can breathe, your gut can relax… Your life, right in this moment, is just fine.