File photo: Nourish the mind as well as the body
Psychological Vitamins are not so strange a concept. Psychologists are interested in giving life-long solutions focusing on thoughts, beliefs and behaviours, conscious and unconscious process through therapy.
So for the first time in my professional career I am going to stand up and prescribe. Take the following psychological vitamins on your healthier journey to change. This change for you can be physical or emotional, whatever is most important to you.
Let’s take the example of overeating, and a desire to become physically healthier.
Start with Vitamin Commitment. This is about making a commitment to yourself for a healthier future. Write down specifically what this healthier journey means to you and your loved ones. Sign at the bottom . You have a contract to yourself and your loved ones.
Take Vitamin Time when you eat and slow down! Most people eat too fast. A major learning point is “What gets measured, gets done”. So become a scientist and log how long it takes to eat your meals. Then increase this time. So if you take five minutes to eat breakfast, increase it to 10 minutes. Put sown your fork or spoon between mouthfuls.
Vitamin Awareness. Too often we eat in a mindless way looking at telly or our phones.
When we are unaware and mindless we are disconnected from the healthy messages our body gives us saying “you are full”. Missing these messages leads to overeating. By taking Vitamin Awareness you are aware of your food, its smell, its temperature, the colours, enjoy being aware.
Vitamin Pleasure. Healthier lifestyles for life require Pleasure. Deprivation diets are unsustainable it’s inevitable that in time we will act like a rebellious child. Too often only food is identified a pleasurable. List the pleasures in all aspects of your life — people, a place, music, movies, singing, walking, gardening, pets, etc. Are you getting enough pleasure in your life? Now take Vitamin Pleasure and go on a pleasure diet.
Vitamin Determination is about keeping going even when times get though. Remind yourself that this is a new pathway in life not a sprint race.
Vitamins Hope & Future. Vitamins F&H are powerful energisers in our journey towards health and well-being. Imagine yourself in the future while you work rest and play. Imagine your energy levels and the quality of your relationships.
An alpabet of psychological vitamins
Select at least five from this list daily. Psychological vitamins can be taken liberally!
Vitamin A: Acceptance. Accept that change is part of living. Accept circumstances that cannot be changed to help you to focus on circumstances that you can alter.
Vitamin B: Belief. Believe you can do it, and you deserve it. Negative beliefs limit you.
Vitamin C: Care. Remember each day to do something that involves caring for yourself.
Connect. Connect with family, friends and your community.
Vitamin D: Determination. This is about keeping going, even when times get tough. If you slip, it’s okay: refocus by doing one simple step to put you back on your pathway.
Vitamin E: Encourage. Become your own best coach — encourage and support all your efforts by building hope and confidence.
Vitamin F: Future. Visualize your future as full of hope, courage and authenticity — a future in which you are your real self.
Vitamin G: Gratitude. There is always something to be thankful for. Learn to practise gratitude. When you become grateful for small pleasures, your outlook changes and opportunities emerge in many areas.
Vitamin H: Humour. Laughter is the best medicine.
Vitamin I : Integrity. Choose your thoughts and actions wisely, based on your values.
Vitamin J: Justice. Be fair to others.
Vitamin K: Kindness. No act of kindness is wasted; as Mark Twain said, ‘Kindness is a language which the dead can hear and the blind can see.’
Vitamin L: Love. Love is patient, love is kind, love always protects and trusts, it never ends.
Vitamin M: Meaning. Find meaning beyond the material world.
Vitamin N: Nutrition. Take care of your body — it’s the only place you can live in.
Vitamin O: Openness. Be open and travel light.Allow new opportunities.
Vitamin P: Play. Go out and play. The body heals with play and the mind with laughter.
Vitamin Q: Quiet. Take time to be quiet. It will be interesting to see what emerges.
Vitamin R Real. No more putting energy into false fronts. Put your energies into being authentic, contented, grounded and happy.
Vitamin S: Social. Remember we are social animals: get out there and enjoy connecting.
Vitamin T: Time. Take time for yourself.
Vitamin U: Unconditional. There are no measurements in the unconditional. Give freely, love freely.
Vitamin V: Volunteer. Give and you will receive.
Vitamin W: Wisdom. Ask yourself: what are the important things in my life? Build your answer with wisdom and courage.
Vitamin X:XXX — Sex is a great stress buster with yourself or others!
Vitamin Y:Yoga. Learn yoga, one of the best relaxation exercises.
Zzzzz … Sleep and rest are essential stress busters.