Does getting closer to nature and living a more natural life sound appealing to you? Connecting with the natural cycles of the world doesn’t have to mean an expensive trip to Bali – you can start much closer to home by starting to look at your own mindset and eating habits.
Learn more about eating food to support your hormonal cycle, start to eat with the seasons, find out more about your dosha, and practice the ancient Japanese art of forest bathing.
Connect with the world to get a deeper sense of well-being and presence in your life – here are some simple ways to get started.
Ayurvedic principles in a nutshell
Ayurveda has a long history – dating back to about 5000 or 6000 years ago when Indian monks first started exploring living in balance.
Ayurvedic living is centred around the idea of doshas and emotional balance that comes from a deep understanding of your own individual character and how to ‘feed’ it.
Through exercise, activities, eating, and awareness you can start to lead a more mindful and balanced life.
The three doshas that all people fall into are: pitta, vata, and kapha. We all have a dominant side, but in reality people are complex mixtures of all the doshas. Someone with a fiery pitta dosha might want to cut down on spicy foods to avoid inflammation, for example.
Dosha-led living is all about balance and finding harmony, not letting any single dosha overpower and dominate in an unhealthy.
The great way about the ayurveda way of thinking is its focus on balance and harmony – a very natural way to approach wellness.
Seasonal cycles and seasonal living
Seasonal living is known to boost creativity, especially in women. Through years of evolution and adapting, we have lived alongside our seasons and changed our habits accordingly.
Modern living has started to chip away at that harmonious relationship.
Take some time out to really see the seasons changing and observe the shifts in the environment around you. Take stock of how they affect you, and keep a diary to record how each season makes you feel.
Track your energy levels, focus, and motivation to see how each varies according to the seasons.
Seasonal eating is just as much a part of the process as mindfulness. Rather than eating out-of-season fruit and veg imported from around the world, stick to those which naturally grow during each season.
Seasonal eating is good for the gut and the environment, but your taste buds will thank you too. Seasonal vegetables and fruit will have the optimal amount of vitamins and nutrients and are often free from GM interference to keep them as natural as possible.
Boost your mood with food
You can help your brain along by eating the right stuff. Serotonin is sometimes known as the happiness hormone, and there are lots of foods that can help give your brain that little extra lift.
Foods like nuts, seeds, cheese, tofu, and even pineapples can help increase levels of serotonin in your body. This is because they contain tryptophan, an amino acid which, when depleted, increases the likelihood of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Eggs, for example, are rich in tryptophan and other feel-good chemicals. Make sure you include the yolks, as these are full of nutrients that are great for your mind and body.
Eating for your menstrual cycle: good period food
Sometimes you have to sync up your own internal hormonal cycle with what you eat and how you live.
Understanding the female menstrual and hormonal cycle is no mean feat. Between the dizzying peaks and troughs in the levels of your female sex hormones (progestorone & estogren), increased testosterone, and gut-wrenching prostaglandins, your mood and body is taking quite a battering around your period.
Eating good period food comes down to controlling your intake of sugar and salt to fight bloating and water retention, and reaching for mood and body-boosting calcium, magnesium, iron, and Vitamins C & D. Eating plenty of fibre and mineral-rich foods will help you combat any adverse effects of all that hormonal turmoil.
Favour light exercise, hot baths, sleeping, and massage to help your body recharge. Soothing activities like these all play an important role in your natural cycle and keeping your mind and body connected to the world around you too.
Understanding forest bathing
As the name suggests, forest bathing is exactly what it says it is: immersing yourself in a forest to feel connected with yourself and the world around you, free from the trappings of the modern world.
Forest bathing is a practice that the Japanese have enjoyed since the Eighties under the name shinrin-yoku. The peace and serenity of a forest provides the perfect space to appreciate, enjoy, and connect with the natural world.
And the science behind it backs it up: studies show that long walks in nature can reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels, as well as enhancing memory and concentration. Indeed, such is the power of forest bathing that the Japanese government has made it part of their national health programme.
With the pressures of the rat race, city life, and the modern world, it’s easy to lose our connection to the natural cycles of the world. This impacts our mood, leaving us adrift and bereft of a sense of well-being. So follow the tips above and take some time to reconnect with the world around you, and you’ll lead a better, more serene life as a result.