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This section has been written by Robert Greenwood, a professional stress and peak performance consultant, with a client base that includes FTSE 100 companies like Land Rover all the way down to one-on-one consultations with local professionals. At Nature & Science, Robert is our resident expert on all things mind, soul and spirituality.

He advises my clients on the mind aspect of health - enabling my clients to live more peaceful, contented lives.

All the green smoothies and alkalising in the world won’t be able to purify your mind of negative thoughts.

So a successful journey to health and happiness must include transforming your mental and emotional well-being. As Buddha once said, “What we think, we become”.

Establishing a positive mind set

Our body is a printout of our mind. What we think, ends up manifesting itself in our bodies – often in ways perceptible to the human eye.

Each thought we have (and there will be about 40,000-60,000 of them in your brain each day) filters down into our physical body in the way of physical actions and bio-chemical releases, which show up as emotions.

If we truly want to be healthy, then the one place we need to start with is our mind. A healthy calm, clear and positive mind is like a deep, stable root system of a tree. If the roots of the tree are in poor shape, then it doesn’t matter how much water and nutrients you feed it, it will still be an unhealthy tree.

There are a number of ways to nurture a healthy positive mindset such as yoga or tai chi, spending time in nature and / or with animals and so on; but one method that really stands out is meditation practice.

Many studies have shown that daily meditation practice has been proven to increase your brain’s potential, improve your emotional state and enhance your immune system.

Through the process of meditation - you will calm your mind down, which will in turn lead to a calm body.

When the body is calm, the para-sympathetic nervous system will become activated and a re-organisational process in the body unfolds.

During this time, a balance is restored. Through regular daily meditation practice, you will feel lighter, happier and a whole lot healthier.

There are many ways to meditate.

There are breath meditations, guided meditations, deeper transcending style meditations with mantras and chanting meditations. Some of these are easier than others!

To get started, you could sit comfortably in a chair, close your eyes with your hands in your lap and observe the breath moving in and out of your nostrils. Sure, the mind will get bored and wander away, however with some gentle effort you can bring the mind back to this one focus.

You could do this for 5 to 10 minutes morning and evening. This technique alone enhances mind control and calms the nervous system.

The Power of Breath

Taking ten minutes each day to practice deep, cleansing and energising breathing is something that we should all be doing. Not only does it give incredible health benefits, but it is also free! It may seem obvious, but not all breaths are created equal. A great, simple breathing exercise for calming both the nervous system and the overworked mind is a timed breath where the exhale is longer than the inhale. When your exhale is even a few counts longer than your inhale, the vagus nerve (running from the neck down through the diaphragm) sends a signal to your brain to turn up your para-sympathetic nervous system and turn down your sympathetic nervous system.

Sympathetic nervous system The sympathetic nervous system commands your fight or flight response, and when they fire, your heart rate and your breathing speed up, and stress hormones like cortisol start pumping through your bloodstream, preparing your body to face a threat. If the threat is “a lion is chasing me and I need to run away!”, then this is helpful. If the threat is “I am late to work” or “I’m so upset with my mum”, then this is not particularly helpful. In fact, it can be damaging – when cortisol is elevated for too long or too frequently it disturbs all the hormonal systems of the body.

The para-sympathetic nervous system The para-sympathetic nervous system on the other hand, controls your rest, relax, and digest response. When the parasympathetic system is dominant, your breathing slows, your heart rate drops, your blood pressure lowers as the blood vessels relax, and your body is put into a state of calm and healing. Putting your body in a para-sympathetic state is easy. Pick a count for your inhale and a count for your exhale that is a little longer. I like starting with 2 counts in, and 4 counts out, with a one count pause at the top of the inhale and a one count pause at the bottom of the exhale, i.e. 2-1-4-1.

Interested in learning more? Robert leads one-on-one and group guided meditation sessions and takes great pleasure in teaching new students meditation methods. The benefits to an individual can be substantial and are particularly beneficial to those already receiving advice and consultation with Nature & Science.

To find out more about Robert’s services, you can explore:


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