BE KIND TO YOUR­SELF

Homes+ (Australia) - - HEALTH -

When writ­ing her book, Dr Gates found many peo­ple thought they were healthy be­cause they weren’t phys­i­cally ill. How­ever, when cer­tain en­trenched be­hav­iours – such as ex­ces­sive al­co­hol con­sump­tion or a nu­tri­tion­ally poor diet – were pointed out to them, they re­alised they needed to change to a health­ier reg­i­men. Of­ten, though, they found this real­ity daunt­ing and dif­fi­cult.

“Of­ten peo­ple just don’t know where to start. All it takes is one change to en­cour­age other

changes,” says Dr Gates.

She says if she had to dis­till one mes­sage from the book in re­la­tion to brain health, it would be this: be kind.

“When we are judge­men­tal and crit­i­cal of our­selves we are less likely to en­gage in health-en­hanc­ing be­hav­iours,” she says. “What hap­pens is peo­ple feel guilty. When we feel ‘yucky’ for what­ever rea­son, we want to feel nice – and we can make bad choices at that point. Re­search shows if you make one healthy choice, you will make more. If we are kind and not

crit­i­cal we are likely to be health­ier and less likely to drink too much, smoke, eat poorly or not ex­er­cise.”

READ MORE

A Brain For Life (ABC Books, $29.95, or eBook at abc. books.com.au).

Good food Nur­ture brain and body with fresh pro­duce.

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