Happy Healthy with Hadlee: Connecting with Nature

Earlier this month, we hosted a Zoom Class focused on health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were joined by Health and Lifestyle Change Coach Hadlee Garrison – she had a ton of helpful information to share.

Here are some of Hadlee’s suggestions that we found to be most helpful during this difficult time.

Michigan Mortgage: Welcome back! We appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us!

Can you explain why our mental and physical health are so connected? Why are they so intertwined?

Hadlee: Often we think of a distinction between our physical health and our emotions, mental clarity, moods, and thoughts. But in actuality, our physical and mental health are inextricably connected.

The way we feel physically impacts our moods and emotions in both tangible and subtle ways. Physical injuries and disease can result in mental health issues. A less obvious but common example of this is overeating and experiencing lethargy, grumpiness, and/or mental fog.

And the way we think and feel mentally and emotionally can also manifest physically. This can be seen when a person experiences the placebo effect and is healed of a physical malady without actually getting the treatment they think they’re getting. It can also show up as physical disease down the road after years of repressed emotion or trauma.

While modern health sciences have historically focused only on physical health, we are finally seeing more attention given to the significant effects mental health plays not only in day-to-day quality of life but also in the physical health of all individuals.

It only makes sense that whatever is happening in one part of the body could create a cascade of effects to another part of the body. The brain is part of the body, so it can affect the rest of the body in both negative and positive ways, and vice versa. For a long time, we believed that the mind and the body didn’t really affect each other, but now modern research shows just how much we’ve overlooked the mind-body connection and how much each affects the other.

MM: This is so fascinating! One thing we talked about a lot on our call is the importance of getting out and enjoying nature. Can you explain that a little bit?

H: Time spent in nature is linked to a whole host of physical and mental benefits. It can:

  • Lower stress
  • Increase mental acuity and attention
  • Calm the nervous system
  • Increase levels of cancer-fighting “natural killer cells” in the body
  • Activate neural pathways associated with calm
  • Decrease levels of depression and anxiety
  • Enhance immune function

It really is so important to be intentional about getting outside right now, especially since we might be less likely to get outside during Shelter in Place because we aren’t going as many places.

Bonus: Pair your time in nature with movement for added health benefits!

MM: Tell us more about movement! Why is it so important for mental and physical health?

H: Movement is so important for both our physical and mental health. It’s not just about creating a physically fit body. Moving your body is incredibly important for:

  • Decreasing risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers
  • Strengthening bones and muscles and decreasing injury as you age
  • Improving sleep
  • Increasing resilience to stress
  • Improving moods throughout the day
  • Reducing risk for depression and anxiety.
  • Improving the structure and function of the brain, making you more mentally clear and focused and allowing you to learn information and make decisions with more clarity and ease.

MM: Thank you for your guidance! If people would like more information, or to connect with your directly, how can they do that?

H: Sign up for a 30-minute Health Goals Session, where we’ll talk about your health and life goals, challenges, and priorities, as well as next steps for achieving your wellness goals.

If you want to work with me further, you can indicate that on your Health Goals Session application. Here is the description for my Happy Healthy Habits program, where they can take a look at what I do with my clients and what I might be able to do for them if we find we’re a good fit for each other.

And if you want more tips, inspiration, advice, and other fun stuff, you can follow and/or direct message me on Instagram or Facebook @happyhealthyhadlee, or sign up for my newsletter. I respond to all questions and inquiries with as much support as I can, and welcome communication, especially during these challenging times. My passion is helping and empowering people to take control of their own wellbeing and life, so reach out and I’ll do whatever I can to help!

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