Five Ways to Increase Well-being

Mind Body SoulDr. Kimberly Sieber is a Clinical Psychologist Specialist in Salt Lake City, Utah and we were honored to have her speak to our caregivers group on August 17, 2017. Having more than twenty years of experience in clinical psychology, she is an expert in helping people gain a better understanding of their own minds and well-being.

When we pay attention to our mind, we realize it never sits still. It’s all over the place. We spend a lot of time thinking about the past and why this or that happened and wishing we’d done things differently. This can lead to depression.

We also spend a lot of time planning and worrying about the future. This often leads to anxiety or panic. I appreciated the methods Dr. Sieber shared with us for improved physical and emotional well-being. I’ve felt progress in my own life the past few weeks since I started practicing her five suggested ways, which are:

1. Mindfulness and Meditation

Techniques Dr. Sieber listed:

girl practicing meditation yoga while sitting on mat clipart

  • Notice your senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching)
  • Take a body scan of your physical sensations—tension, pain, etc
  • What are your thoughts and/or emotions
  • Adopt a non-judgmental attitude that the emotion isn’t good or bad, just “is”
  • Accept your current experience
  • Don’t rehash the past (depression), or rehearse the future (anxiety)

Two ways to practice this:

  • Formal – breathing, body scan, imagery
  • Informal – showering, brushing teeth, eating, walking, nature

As we practice meditation, we need to accept that our mind wanders and bring it back to the thought at hand. Each day will be different and some days will be easier than others, but over time our mind will wander less and the more we do it the easier it gets. Gaining the ability to spend more time in the present will tame and control our brains.

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” When we pay attention to the present, we are in the moment.

There’s more than one way to practice mindfulness, but the goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment.

Dr. Sieber’s list of benefits:

Mind Full

  • Helps release depression and anxiety
  • Reduces stress and pain
  • Improves our concentration
  • Boosts creativity
  • Gives us more energy
  • Reduces stress (cortisol)
  • Reduces rumination
  • Reduces emotional reactivity (changes in brain)
  • Improves concentration and memory
  • Improves relationships
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves overall physical health (heart disease, blood pressure, pain)

2) Exercise

 Dr. Sieber’s list of benefits:

Exercises1

  • Releases brain chemicals like neurotransmitters and endorphins
  • Strengthens immune system, reducing inflammation
  • Increases body temperature which can have a calming effect
  • Reduces stress
  • Increases energy
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves self-confidence/self-esteem
  • Distraction from worries and problems

3) Nutrition

Necessary for good health and growth, Dr. Sieber shared these ideas:

Nutrition2

  • Avoid processed foods
  • Fish, meat, eggs, beans, complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains)
  • Omega 3 fatty acids with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
  • Vitamins and minerals (B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin D, zinc, iron)
  • Probiotics – yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut

 

4) Healthy Thinking

How or what we think directly affects our emotions and behaviors. To improve our thoughts, Dr. Sieber listed and discussed a few ideas:

  • Identify the situation that elicited thoughts, emotions, and behaviors
  • Recognize automatic, negative patterns of thought
  • Evaluate the validity of negative thoughts
  • Explore other ways of interpreting situations
  • Avoid negative self-statements
  • Behavioral activation (just do it)

5) Gratitude

To show appreciation and return kindness to others also contributes to our well-being. Dr. Sieber’s list of benefits are:

Gratitude tree

  • Increases positive thoughts and emotions
  • Improves physical health (heart, blood pressure, immune system)
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves relationships
  • Increases self-esteem

Ways to expand our gratitude:

  • Gratitude journal
  • Write a thank you note or mentally thank someone
  • Meditate about what you are grateful for

No Giant Step

Thank you, Dr. Sieber, for this timely presentation on physical and emotional well-being. I enjoyed learning how to turn my thoughts and actions around by consciously seeking peace of mind.

Reference: Bullet points and images came from Dr. Kimberly Sieber’s slide presentation.

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4 thoughts on “Five Ways to Increase Well-being

  1. I love this!! I needed this and am going to work it all into my life. My mind has been so full of negativity (nothing to do with Bindy but life in general) and never rests.

    Thank you again!

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