What is the Psychology of Food?

psychology of food


Psychology of food

Rooks Health 0:00
Welcome back to the Rooks health podcast if you’re new to the podcast, my name is Farouk I am the host of the podcast. I’m a physical therapist and in today’s episode with a special guests if you read the title, you know it’s about psychology and a bit about nutrition (psychology of . This person is at an interesting crossroads between these two areas. And let me tell you a few things we talked about. In this episode, we talk about social media and eating disorders. anorexia, generally we talk about eating disorders, and how the food is actually not the culprit in eating disorders. I was actually surprised about that one, how it’s in the brain. But listen to find out a lot more about that. What else do we talk about? We talk about this psychological relationship we have with food and how that actually impacts our eating habits. More than we actually know and more than we actually think. Also, one more thing, I won’t give everything away. Don’t worry, so you can enjoy the episode regardless, we talked about how certain nutrients and certain minerals are actually very beneficial for the brain. And if you want to find out which ones they actually are you go to listen to the whole episode. But let’s get into the episode. You may have seen her or you may have heard her about on Instagram, she goes by the name of food and psych. So I’ll let the episode go on. So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Kimberly Wilson.

Unknown Speaker 1:45
So welcome Kimberly to the Rooks Health podcast. Today’s episode, the very very interesting episode because we have someone very special. I say this every time for every episode that someone special on but today actually, because this is a someone who is at the crossroads between nutrition and psychology. So I’ll let him introduce himself. So I don’t put your any of your titles and give her the full credit she’d probably deserved.

Kimberly 2:09
As nice nice little way out there. And I don’t know if I have any special titles. My name is Kimberly Wilson. I am a chartered counselling psychologist, I have a master’s in nutrition. And my work really sits at the intersection, as you say, between food and psychology. And that includes the role and utilisation of food and nutrients in mental health prevention and treatment. I also do some work with disordered eating and eating disorders. But also I look at functional gut disorders to the IBS because IBS is a very stress sensitive disorder. And a lot of people don’t appreciate that when they think about IBS, when most people when they get gut symptoms, for example, end up thinking that it’s it’s just about food. And actually there’s a big psychological component to IBS in particular. So I try to help people understand essentially that gut brain body connection and tries to take care of themselves in an integrated way.

Unknown Speaker 3:16
Very interesting. And topic of IBS. Um, though I don’t know a lot about IBS, but I know it’s quite prevalent because Tommy see in the pharmacy see a lot of medication for IBS. So is it how much of a problem is something like that? And how to the common people and everyone in general? Is it the people a lot people suffer from IBS?

Unknown Speaker 3:33
Yeah, it’s it’s incredibly common. And the estimates put it at around 10 to 20% of the population suffer with IBS symptoms. So yeah, it’s a really high number and, and it’s a functional got disorder. And what that means is that with functional disorders, all kinds where there’s impairment to the function of the organ, or the system in this case, without there being evidence of organic disease or obstruction. So people can have colonoscopy, colonoscopies, and scans and their their colon or they that would be clear, but still, they would have bloating, pain, diarrhoea, constipation, a combination of these factors, and which really impair your daily functioning and just your quality of life. Right. And so, when we think about functional gut disorders, and and they’re incredibly complex, and again, with IBS people often and it’s very understandable will often think it’s about the food. They say, well, like maybe I’ve got an intolerance, or maybe it’s gluten, maybe it’s dairy. Those are kind of the big main culprits people tend to think about, and then they’ll start cutting out those foods from their diet, which actually can end up doing more harm than good, particularly if yours is a, you know, a stress mediated IBS, so you might be cutting foods in your diet, becoming more anxious about the foods that you’re eating, actually being more stressed, and it’s the stress that you feel that meal times, which is triggering it and not the foods that you’re eating at mealtimes, which is triggering the symptoms. So, yeah, it’s a it’s a very interesting and but incredibly common disorder,

Unknown Speaker 5:17
I guess. So we know that last point and that were linking with your mental side as opposed to just being about the food that you’re eating. So I remember one of the things I want to talk to you about was that was that relationship between food and your mental health? How significant Is it because obviously playing off the devil’s advocate we know it we know there’s a there’s a link there is in the basic there’s a link between what you eat and your mental state, but how it How important is it and the war? How much significant is that role?

Unknown Speaker 5:49
Okay, so obviously I’m biassed call myself food and psych, after all, but I think it’s hugely undervalued The, the importance of it in lots of different ways, right. So the first one, which and it’s obvious when you say it, but most people don’t think about it, as your brain is made of food. Right, your brain is made of the nutrients, and the macro and micronutrients that come from the foods that you eat. And in particular, your brain is 30% of it is made up of fats that you can only really reliably get through your diet, these are omega three fatty acids from oily fish. And so they make up about 30% of your brain cell membranes, the outer world of each of your brain cells, as well as about 50% of the retina. So these fats, which you can only get from your diet are a third of your brain and 50% of your eye. Right? Credit very, slightly crudely but and, and so if you’re not eating those foods, automatically, fundamentally, your brain is already depleted and not working, doesn’t have the optimal building blocks to work as well as it could do. But on top of that, things like B vitamins are needed to make you know, people think about serotonin and you know, can I eat things that will boost my serotonin? Well, the things that I mean, that’s a very complicated question. But you need magnesium and B vitamins to make serotonin. So if you’re not getting those foods, then you won’t even have kind of adequate production availability of these of these compounds. So there’s one thing is, which is about the fundamental building blocks of the brain, which comes from food. The other, which I think gets less appreciation is the psychological relationship we have with food. We all have a psychological relationship, an emotional relationship with food, whether whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not. And because so much of our early psychology, our early sense of ourselves, our early relationships, are mediated through food, right feeding times as a baby comes with the physical intake of nutrients, plus the contact plus the holding, plus the gaze plus the singing or the, you know, the lullabies that your parent might be singing to you, or is the whole package and you cannot separate that. And those memory traces get pulled together, in in the baby’s brain. So we have this very, very close connection psychologically between food nutrient intake, and comfort, safety and soothing. So and there are, you know, there are other things, but there are so many ways that food and psychology are just so closely linked. And, you know, we know that 50% of people who present with morbid obesity have suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse in childhood. So there’s this real way in which either for destruction reasons for self soothing for self care, comfort eating, that food becomes a way that people

Unknown Speaker 9:03
copy like a coping magnetic

Unknown Speaker 9:04
coping mechanism. And so the, you know, it’s really closely interwoven. And consideration, I

Unknown Speaker 9:12
think, ah, so speaking of eating disorders, I know that is a very, very prevalent thing. And it can come in different ways, if I’m right to say that you can have an eating disorder of eating too much. And you can also have an eating disorder of eating not enough. So you can either one of them still counts as an eating disorder. And, as you said, so what’s actually happening in someone’s head when they have when they’re having these type of things? And what why is that prevalent? And as you’ve just said, as you mentioned, if I didn’t even know that fact, that’s a very interesting statistic that the obesity is directly related to childhood and things like that and the psychology of trauma you went through in childhood.

Unknown Speaker 9:50
Yeah, so eating disorders, diagnoseable eating disorders, things like anorexia. The average prevalence in the population is somewhere around one Sent, which is quite a common figure, you find lots of mental health disorders. And, and I guess the big thing that I always want to get across when we’re thinking about problems with eating and food intake is that it’s, it’s not about the food. Everybody wants it to be about the food, you know, you just eat too much, you’re too hungry, you’re too greedy. If the issue is compulsive eating, or you’re obsessed with being skinny, you just want to be thinner if the issue is restriction as a big group of other disordered relationships with food in between, you know, so it’s not just under overeating, it can be you know, you can be of average weight, as still have problematic psychological relationships with food, you can still see food as frightening and scary or needing to be controlled. And often people with bulimia have average weight, which is why it’s so under diagnosed in the population. And people will just look at you and they go, you look perfectly healthy and won’t know that that person is is bingeing and purging. And so it’s not about the food and so often. So for example, with anorexia, there’s a very common personality constellation, which is about perfectionism, which is about avoidance of conflict, wanting to be seen to be a good, nice person. And a lot of, there’s a lot of compliance, and obedience associated with anorexia, type disorders. And across the spectrum, these are disorders of emotional coping, you know, that. One of the things about food, and if we think about the idea of control, if we think about anorexia, that what it offers is, is a very clear and neat way of constructing your day or your life, and it’s often a response to chaos and internal emotional chaos. And it’s often a way of if you think about, particularly counting calories, you know, there’s something very neat, tidy routine, and, and perfect about counting calories, right? I take in this amount of that amount, I come to a very nice, neat number, the mass, mass is not ambiguous matters always, you know. Exactly. And, and that’s the contrast to, to emotional messiness. Right. So you know, everything else feels like it’s chaotic. Everything else feels like, you know, it doesn’t make sense. But this feels very neat. This is very understandable. This is a framework for which I can use to contain my anxiety. And so it’s what we need to always be thinking about, what is this person trying to cope with? You know, not so rarely, actually, about? You know, being thin or thinking about anorexia, it’s more about being seen as acceptable, or likeable, or wanted, not wanting to be rejected. There’s so much more underneath it. And and I wish people were a bit more compassionate to those sides of it.

Unknown Speaker 13:12
Yeah, I can imagine. So the, and one thing I’ve heard, I’ve seen a lot. And I think it’s very common across the world listening is the idea of social media. And it’s that’s effects on things like this, but I don’t know how much dies. I think I can see you’re doing so you could tell me what you think about that?

Unknown Speaker 13:29
Oh, yeah, yeah. Um, the thing is, because I say this, and we talk about disordered eating and eating disorders, but I think it’s, it’s incredibly rare nowadays to find anyone who has just a relaxed relationship with food, right? Someone who isn’t eating to some external plan, whether it’s something that they’ve downloaded off an influencer, or eating to a particular regimen, eating to some sort of exclusion, whether that’s wheat, dairy, meat, you know, there are very, very, very few people who can just, you know, sit there and go, Hmm, I’m hungry. What do I fancy, you know, what do I want? What does my body what is it asking for right now without actually approaching mealtimes with a set of rules and, and boxes that need to be ticked? So, and I think what’s extraordinary about social media is that it’s almost normalised the use of the way that you eat as a signifier of your identity. Right? So you’ll see it you’ll see it on Twitter and Instagram. People will say that if it was say, Jason Smith, I don’t know banker vegan, and you’re like that’s that’s interesting. Because if if I were you know, asking for your CV your you know, you looking for a job, and I was asking you to tell me about your experience, I wouldn’t be expecting you to tell me your dietary choices as part of, right. But there’s a way in which you know me on social media, it’s become normal to tell absolute strangers how you eat. And and this is what I mean about food being having meaning and being more symbolic than just what it is because actually, we use the way that we eat as a shorthand for our values and our tribes, right? So if I say, I am a carnivore, what I’m telling you is I belong to this group of people who eat in this particular way, and have this set of beliefs. It’s just a marker of belonging. Similarly, on the other end of the spectrum, with veganism, like, what I’m saying is that often it’s used as a marker of ethical beliefs. And I’m an ethical person, I care about the planet, I care about animals, and this is who I am. But we use the food the way that we eat as a shorthand for our beliefs and identity. And it’s incredibly strange when you stop and think about it.

Unknown Speaker 16:09
I’m thinking about zombie thinking now as well, about our concept of projecting that you are, as you said, we again, had adding that little thing in the title as myself. If whoever’s listening to this, we will already know this, from previous episodes that I, I eat more plant based diet, meaning most of my stuff come from plant based, and it was thing that happened over last year, doesn’t mean I’ve excluded completely me out of my diet just leaves it significantly less than I used to eat. And I will try and promote people and say, you know, obviously, I’m not a trained nutritionist. So I wouldn’t claim to be, but I would say at least try and eat more vegetables, trying to eat more fruits. That’s the one thing I was trying to push at the very least, because I’m not going to be the person to give you a nice little dietary plan. That’s not my area of specialty. That’s not my core competency. But if you get what I mean, it’s just pushing that little little bits of eating more fruits and vegetable.

Unknown Speaker 17:04

Unknown Speaker 17:12
Yeah, exactly. But there’s a difference. There’s something strange about our desire and our need for exclusions, right? Because it’s not enough for some people, but increase for an increasing number of people to just say, eat more vegetables. People want to say, does that mean I should only eat vegetables, you know, is there some vegetables I should be eating and some vegetables, I shouldn’t be eating it, you know, and they what they want rules, people want rules. And I think this is a response more generally, to feeling that life is a chaotic mess, and we don’t have any handle on anything.

Unknown Speaker 17:47
I like the realness the real. Everything is chaotic. And that’s really true. And that’s very true. And it is what it says whatever you people say it is what it is kind of is the way life is and everything. And so it was it was now we’re still on the topics of food and health, and you’ve touched on an erection monada very common and prevalent. One is depression and anxiety. I know that I know that scale, because a few people you meet a lot of people who say that they have anxiety, I don’t actually know what that means, in a sense that specifically what is having someone who has anxiety actually means like, sometimes I don’t know, if it’s being used on a very broad spectrum, as well as depression as well. Or maybe feeling sad, maybe mixed with depression, I noticed clinical depression. That’s a whole other thing. We have to you’ve been diagnosed, but I actually know what it means. Actually, anymore. It’s those two terms, because they’ve been used widely.

Unknown Speaker 18:42
Yeah, no. And I think you make a really good point. And I think it’s a really valuable observation, that, and it’s a very mixed stories on one hand, so broadly, we have increased recorded rates of what these are called the common mental health disorders and anxiety in depression. And, and partly that’s going to be you know, better recording and people, you know, we’ve spent a lot of time improving the conversation and trying to reduce the stigma. So more people do feel more able to speak up when they’re feeling distressed. But at the same time, and as a clinician, I really try to, to hold up with this, try to prevent this as much as I can, and is a kind of meaning creep, you know, where word starts to mean much more than it used to mean. And certainly, what I worry about is that the pathologizing of normal emotional responses, so that for some people and I think partly it’s because, again, social media has democratised our health information. And everybody has an opinion. Not everybody is, you know, experienced and you know, sometimes people are trying to be helpful, I don’t think it’s malicious or open on that. And they’re just not particularly well informed. And so, people might be experiencing normal nervousness, right? If you’re going up to give a talk in front of a roomful of people and you feel nervous, that’s completely normal. That’s not an anxiety disorder. That’s not having anxiety, that’s eating nervous, right? And if you feel sad, because I know you’re having difficulties in your relationship, because life

Unknown Speaker 20:37
time, sometimes something happens in life, and you just feel a bit sad.

Unknown Speaker 20:42
Exactly. And, and that’s fine. You know, you can feel sad without being depressed. Right. But But I think that where these words have become adopted as part of the common conversation, they started to lose some of their clinical

Unknown Speaker 20:59

Unknown Speaker 21:00
And, and I worry, because one of the things about human psychology is that you can prime yourself for certain experiences. And so if you have the belief that anytime you feel sadness is one of the reasons I hate, hashtag good vibes only because it’s created this idea that, like, constantly, perpetually happy all the time. 24 seven, which is just ridiculous. You know, so if, if people have this idea that if I ever feel sad, you know, I should feel happy, I should feel grateful, I should be enjoying my privileges, I should be making the most of my existence at all times. But anytime that they feel a bit sad, they think there’s something wrong with them. It’s like, no, sometimes you just feel sad. And sometimes there’s no particular reason for that. Sometimes it might be literally something you’ve eaten, has disrupted, something has made you your brain bill, feel a bit, you know, not great. And, and you feel sad for a bit. And if the more you worry about that the wet, the worse, you’re gonna make it. So. Yeah, I think it’s a mixture of things. And I think secondly, there’s a an overuse of some of these actually clinically important term.

Unknown Speaker 22:13
Yeah. And I think, just as you probably know, more than me about, especially as physiotherapists, some of these things, when there’s an over when you say a lot of these words, and you push it out there, either way, it kind of skews the numbers, and it almost makes the people who actually have some of these things, lumped into a target people who actually don’t have it, but I can imagine it’s a it’s not something you can I can ask you and say, so what does it mean to help someone to have anxiety or having depression? That’s a whole, I think most of it is contextual bending on one person, and it’s holistically looking at a person.

Unknown Speaker 22:44
Sure, but I mean, there are, you know, there are some things and we tend to think of something as problematic psychologically, when they interfere with your daily living, right. So if you’re a bit nervous, giving a speech, or meeting new people, that’s not a problem, if it gets to the point where you don’t want to leave the house, or you’re not going forward in your job, or you’re avoiding, you know, good situations, things that could be fun for you, that’s when we might start thinking that there’s something problematic happening here. So it is contextual, because some people will be able to tolerate more than others. You know, some people have a better tolerance for this physiological distress. And that’s what emotions are. And but it’s the point where we think about something being a disorder is where it starts to impair your daily functioning.

Unknown Speaker 23:36
Yeah, that’s the very most important thing is the fizzy when I was learning is always How is it affecting their daily life? Are they able to still function, because when they can’t function in life, when if you if you’re like you said, if you’re not being able to go out or you’re not enjoying it, you’re actually starting to see your health deteriorate socially, financial and everything, that’s when this becomes a bigger problem. And one thing I know in, in this new office in 2020, and now with the rise of online jobs, one thing that’s very big on people is burnout, you know, they’re out and chronic stress, like people are under constant amount of stress, either. I’m just gonna say this promo was a call from an avid observer standpoint of things like when you see a lot of things and you see this idealistic lifestyle and you see a lot of things and you’re trying to achieve those things. And you’re pushing, which is good, I do appreciate it, but sometimes burning out even regular day to day jobs and you’re burning out. People do burnout is a big thing. We talk about in physiotherapy that it’s gonna happen even as a student, you may eventually just burn out through a daily amount of stress. how prevalent how, how much of a problem is that in actual work?

Unknown Speaker 24:41
I think it’s well, I think, particularly right now in Coronavirus, lockdown. I think there’s a risk of burnout just from that persistent stress of the anxiety and the worry and what’s going to happen and when can I get out and when can I get put back to my normal life. I have. I think stress is so important in relation to to brain health but it has a whole chapter in my book and and a quiz on whether you are burned out or not because I think it’s an increasing an increase it and it will be an increasing problem for people because we have this huge kind of veneration we love to be busy that we have this huge value on you know making gains hustling pushing, you know 5am club or am club, you know, no one can wake up early enough.

Unknown Speaker 25:33
I wake up what am I wake up good

Unknown Speaker 25:40
to fly him like, he used to work in a law firm. And he used to be very, very common I think they have they stopped it in the last few years. But it used to be common just for them to have the big city firms to have it have beds in the buildings because you weren’t going home. And, and and, and so we have this real glamorising and glorification of buisiness and constant activity, and just a real denigration and a lack of value for rest. And I did a had to do a session on my Instagram recently because I did a video where I was just explaining like, during lockdown, you might be feeling a bit more tired. And that’s because there are these other psychological demands that you’re experiencing more vigilance, more attention, you know, more anxiety that has a physical energy demands, so you’ll feel more tired, so you might need to sleep more, right? And I thought that was just gonna be a straightforward, little, here’s a little bit of science information for you and go on. But in the comments, so many people said, Oh, thank you for this. Now I feel less guilty for having a nap. And where I’m from having a nap is like,

Unknown Speaker 26:51
like, be the queen, like,

Unknown Speaker 26:56
luxury to be able to have a nap. Right? Um, but people are saying that they felt guilty about it. So I had to do a session where I was asking people why why do you feel guilty about having a nap or sleeping longer. And people saying because I haven’t earned it, you know, that all of my rest has to be earned through activity. And as I you’re you’re literally treating yourself like like a factory, you know, putting these inputs in before I need to have a certain number of outputs before I can turn the lights off and go home. And it’s like you are a human, you know, and your body is responding to things that cognitively unconsciously you have no idea about, right? Your brain is processing hundreds of thousands of pieces of information at all times plus the rest of your body doing all sorts of crazy stuff that you could never understand. And that’s all and so if you feel tired, the most compassionate most respectful thing that you can do for yourself is to rest but we don’t value rest enough

Unknown Speaker 28:08
Yeah, yeah I think rest is a sign on my on my on my Instagram the Rooks Health I put out a thing that said you shouldn’t be trying to be aiming to sleep for this amount of hours. The thing seven to nine. That’s the general standard guidelines and he would normally people sleep less than that, but he think it’s okay and it’s been normalised because the thing that normalises The more you sleep is an assumption that you’re lazy and you’re you’re just sleeping way too long, which I can understand them just like sleep is very important thing. And people say I say five hours and I’m fine. I’m constantly sleeping five hours. And I’m fine. I know. I know, that’s already horrible. Because I think I did some research and I was reading in about I can’t remember what it’s called you bear with to tell me but only a very small percentage of people can actually have the short sleep cycle or something like that.

Unknown Speaker 28:53
It’s about it’s about 1% of the population. And that that level of short sleep or that four hour right level of short sleeper. And the thing is that sleep the mammalian brain. So this is shown in animal studies, when mammals are chronically under slept, the brain starts to eat itself.

Unknown Speaker 29:15

Unknown Speaker 29:17
Like this is no laughing matter. This is not a joke. This isn’t about being lazy. But there is an evolutionary reason that we sleep like when we think about it. Sleep is massively risky for humans, right? You’re unconscious, you’re immobile, you have no sense of what’s happening around you, you’re incredibly vulnerable to being predated in our evolutionary kind of landscape, right. And it’s an incredibly vulnerable time for human is when you’re asleep. So the fact that it’s persisted throughout our existence as a species tells us that it’s it has must have a really important function, otherwise nature wouldn’t have left it in there. Right. And the functions We think, and certainly from my perspective thinking about brain health are. So one of the things that happens when you are in deep sleep is that the gaps between your brain cells, so the signups is separate, they open up by sometimes up to 60% by 40, to 60%. And inflows of fluid, which cleans out the daily build up of kind of toxic metabolites. And this is really important because the buildup of those toxic metabolites and one in particular is a protein called amyloid beta. And when that builds up, it can block the signals between your brain cells. And when that happens, the brain cells because they only because your brains like use it or lose it. If it’s not getting messages, those brain cells will start to die. And that’s why the buildup of amyloid is one of the key features is one of the key characteristics of outsiders disease, and we know that sleep disorders precede outsider’s diagnosis. So sleep is protecting the structure and function of your brain. And the idea that you’re going to be more productive, or better off or more successful on Leslie is just, it’s totally flawed logic. Yeah, it’s bananas.

Unknown Speaker 31:19
And, but one thing I returned is because you see a lot of YouTube videos, but one of the reasons we’re still asleep is that there is no long term consequences of obviously, people sleep deprived themselves for a very short amount of time. Are there any long term consequences? Or is this one of those things where, because as you just said, No, I’ve actually didn’t realise that that sleep lack of sleep was a predecessor to dementia, is it something they feel is cause cause to be starving yourself of sleep for a long period of time you are more, what’s the call susceptible in a sense,

Unknown Speaker 31:51
um, so longer sleep deprivation is a problem but actually, we know that even one or two nights of chronic lack of sleep can shift the function of a lot of your dairy cascade to approve inflammatory direction and we don’t want that because that kind of inflammation is, is deleterious to lots of parts of your health and we and that actually takes a long time to come back to baseline. So you really don’t want to be doing it very much at all and if you do you know, if you do pull an all nighter, then you absolutely want to be back in bed as soon as possible and building back that that sleep

Unknown Speaker 32:39
and sleep How important is a sleep sleep hygiene because so I have a what’s called a watch strap and it basically helps me track my sleep tells me how long I sleep for it tries his best to tell me how long I sleep for so it kind of I found it it kind of lets me be hold myself accountable for my hours of sleep in a sense to try and pursue myself to actually sleep more because in the morning will tell me Okay, you only slept six hours today. Trying to sleep more now has all these things like sleep yet? And obviously, if I sleep six hours a day will tell me that Oh yeah, you’ve worked out very hard today. How much you should try and aim for a lot this amount of sleep for tomorrow. No, it’s always giving me a ridiculous number, like 10 hours of sleep. nine hours of sleep, I was like it’s a lot of sleep, I try and get it as close as possible to what it says because I know sleep overs is good for you. Boom, just like it adds on an outfit. My Genie tells me sleep at the same time every day. Try your best within that same timeframe. And now these are these actual valid points, or are they just marketing tips.

Unknown Speaker 33:39
So a couple of things. And most sleep researchers don’t recommend consumer sleep trackers because they’re they don’t come close to the accuracy or validity of what’s called polysomnography the type of sleep tracking that they use the gold standard tick tracking that they use in sleep research. And so that’s one thing the second thing is what you might be slightly at risk of is what’s called it’s been dubbed ortho somnio which is that people with sleep trackers whether they’re watches or rings or whatever, are starting some people are starting to get anxious about not getting perfect sleep. Right? So they wake up in the morning like oh no, I only got like 20% deep sleep and it should be fair and open a we don’t know how accurate that is. But be the being anxious about sleep is going to get in the way of having Yeah, um, and so usually it’s the thing people just need to be aiming for because there’s nothing you can do really about getting deep or good quality sleep other than, you know avoiding arousal and activation before bed don’t have coffee, don’t have a big meal. You know, don’t smoke or bed or that sort of stuff. And that’s going to affect the quality of your sleep. But really what you want to be making sure as is yes, routine is true your your body and your brain likes routine. And, you know, your body has its rhythms throughout the day and the 24 hour circadian rhythm. And it does like to keep that and you know, wound healing is affected by circadian rhythms, for example.

Unknown Speaker 35:21

Unknown Speaker 35:22
sticking with a good routine is going to be best for your body. And

Unknown Speaker 35:27
your brain

Unknown Speaker 35:28
doesn’t like any sound that is inconsistent or threatening. So if there’s going to be any sound around, it should be kind of consistent low level hum,

Unknown Speaker 35:38
you know,

Unknown Speaker 35:38
don’t fall asleep with TV’s on and all of that sort of stuff. And, and a darkened, cool room. so quiet, dark and cool. Essentially, as if you were trying to sleep in a cave.

Unknown Speaker 35:52
It was really just like

Unknown Speaker 35:57
anything, get those on a consistent basis, and you’re not doing anything that’s going to interfere with your sleep, but then your body should your body wants to sleep, right? Your body wants to be in equilibrium wants to be healthy. So it will what it will shift into a good pattern. And if you can keep to that, that most people will be fine.

Unknown Speaker 36:16
Okay, and so we’re talking about that. I mean, we talked about a lot about chronic stress and burnout under work before we go into that. Luckily, I forget a lot. So I’ve now you’ve told me I’m gonna be more aware of it not to focus heavily on this new tracker. A lot more. Look at it more to the ball, take your word for it. You haven’t stood me and you said me wrong. But we’re going back there. We can go back to burnout, stress and all these things because they’re all related. So what are good techniques? Because I know one of the big things with the rise of alternate medicine and alternate therapies and things like mindfulness yoga, what’s it called? meditation and things like this? Do they actually have any credence in science? Are they actually evidence based? Or are they mostly just? What’s it called? opinions and experience? And oh, yeah, I started meditation. And I noticed this, or I started doing yoga. And I went

Unknown Speaker 37:12
to an ashram, and it changed my life. So, so yes, yes, and, and some other kind of qualifying statements. So the first one is that there is lots of really good data around mindfulness and meditation for brain health. And lots of studies have shown that regular consistent meditation, for example, can increase the volume of your brain, it can make your brain grow. And it can improve the connections in your brain, and particularly connections in your brain between the prefrontal cortex. So the the higher thinking rational goal directed reasoning part of your brain, and the amygdala, so the threat detection centre. And the idea is that when you’ve got better communication between those two parts of your brain, you’re much more able to tolerate worry, anxiety, stress, and also that front part of your brain. So your amygdala is like, always on the lookout for danger. And that’s basically it’s constant job. And then it needs messages from the front part of your brain, the PFC to say, Oh, no, no, no, don’t worry. It’s cool, relax, chill, don’t worry about it. And so meditation can improve the communication between those two parts of the brain. And that’s really important. The issue is that the middle of a crisis is not the time to start to learn how to meditate.

Unknown Speaker 38:44
And this is the problem that, again, with the democratisation of information, and people, you know, more and more people talking about it, which is fantastic. But what the message needs to get out is, Are you stressed meditate,

Unknown Speaker 38:59

Unknown Speaker 39:01
if you’re panicking, the last thing you want to do is sit down and think about those thoughts. But like that is that is not going to help. And so the time and what I talked about in the book is about prevention, and building in resilience into the system in as many ways as possible, through nutrition, through exercise, through meditation, through improving your relationships, through learning how to tolerate your emotions, through improving your financial situation, so that you’re reducing stress, and building that resilience into the system so that when you get to the point of stress, panic crisis, you’ve got all the tools already there, ready to go. So the time to get into meditation is when things are good. Time to get into meditation is when things are calm, when you have the time to practice it when you have the time to get into a routine with it. And try different forms of it because not everybody can sit down and Still, some people need more. Exactly. And that that’s when,

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