Remember my post about how intestinal bacteria play an important role in brain chemistry and mental health?
Well, the topic is hot and there’s a lot of research going on in the field.
Below is a great infographic, which illustrates the connection between our gut bacteria and our brain. “Within the walls of our digestive system is the gut, or the “second brain,” which contains bacteria that could help mold our brain structure, possibly influencing our moods, behavior, and mental health, such as the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.”
“The gut is able to communicate with the brain via the vagus nerve — a cranial nerve extending from the brainstem to the abdomen via the heart, esophagus and lung — known as the gut-brain axis.Ninety percentof the fibers in the vagus carry information from the gut to the brain.
Now, an imbalance of beneficial versus harmful gut bacteria, known as “dysbiosis,” has been linked to a number of psychiatric and neurological disorders, such as autism, anxiety, depression and stress. It may even play a role in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This suggests a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. This is potentially related to pro-inflammatory states elicited by bacteria imbalance on or inside the body.”
We can’t really understand why she moved to the North but it’s fine with us. There are hardly any cars now (we live in a kibbutz, it’s like a small, far-off village) but the nextdoor neighbor has a really scary dog. (But we’re too fast for him anyway.)
The most fun part of moving were the first weeks during which Heila’s new place was a paradise of boxes, bags, and other stuff that made for great hiding places and things to check out and play with.
Did you see the uncomfortable toilet we had then? (Now we have a first class WC, Made in Italy.)
It suddenly struck me that there might be a connection between the ubiquity of plastic products in our lives and the increasing number of people diagnosed with mental illness.
Seeing the uncritical way in which most people use plastic products especially in food preparation and storage, leaves me speechless sometimes. I mean it’s not that there isn’t enough information on the web about the harmful effects of plastic byproducts on our and especially our children’s health.
I was never a fan of plastic. Of course life without plastic is nearly impossible today because it is a cheap and versatile material and used nearly everywhere. But when food is concerned I minimize the use of it wherever I can: I mostly store food in glass or stainless steel containers. I don’t use plastic wrap (especially not for hot foods) and I don’t buy mineral water in plastic bottles. For cooking and serving food I use wooden or stainless steel spoons and dippers. And I just can’t stand plastic chopping boards – I have always used a wooden one. And when I buy take-away coffee I drink straight from the cup, not through the white plastic lid.
So here are some eye-openers for those interested:
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations in which we don’t exactly know how to behave or what to say. We then act in a certain way, which afterwards we might find was incorrect or inappropriate. Then the question arises: Should I talk about it with others, colleagues or superiors if it was at work; or friends, family, or whomever it concerns? Sharing might reveal a mistake I made and I risk receiving negative responses.
Still, I opt for talking and sharing because only when we open up to feedback we are able to learn and develop, and become really good at what we do. Only those who dare can grow.
Marshall Rosenberg, psychologist and founder of the Non Violent Communication, a method to help people learn to communicate in a peaceful and conflict-solving way:
Instead of playing the game Making Life Wonderful and enjoying the quality of natural giving, everywhere and with everyone, we play the game of Who is Right.
The game of Who is Right is a game in which everybody loses. It involves two of the most devious things human beings have ever come upon: Reward and Punishment.
Anything we do out of fear of punishment if we don’t do it – everybody pays for.
Everything we do for a reward – everybody pays for.
Everything we do to make people like us – everybody pays for.
Everything we do out of guilt, shame, duty, obligation – everybody pays for.
Recently, an impressive young lady told me that when she’s down she puts on red lipstick and it makes her feel better.
Red is such an exciting color! It explodes with energy, with life and passion. Red stimulates creativity and courage, while it can also have a very comforting, warming, and “hugging” effect. Looking at something red – preferably a hue somewhere between true red and scarlet – definitely stirs something inside of me, activates senses and energy.
“A new branch of science called “colour psychology” has found that red can have a profound influence on our mood, perceptions and actions. Wearing red can even change your physiology and balance of hormones and alter your performance in a football match. So what is it about the shades of ruby, crimson, and scarlet that makes them so potent?”
Read more: How the color red warps the mind.
Picture Credit: Pomegranate and earrings – Heila; Others – Google pics, Makeup Gazette, playbuzz.com, WKSU.
“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.” – Pearl S. Buck
To keep us mentally and physically healthy we need to engage in mentally stimulating activities – do things that make us think, question, learn, err, understand, feel, develop, and LAUGH. Such activities include physical exercise, getting enough (but not too much) sleep, eating healthy food, minimizing stress, and, probably most important of all, connecting and interacting with other people.
Living a socially active and rich life develops our brain and our personality, and is vital for our well-being. Learning to interact socially is especially important for people coping with mental illness who often live isolated and lonely lives. Talking to friends and engaging in activities together helps us share and overcome fears, learn more about ourselves, acquire new skills, get new perspectives, and realize that we are not (coping) alone. Friends motivate us and make us feel loved and needed. Friends also make us feel miserable, which teaches us to say no and draw lines.