Keys to a Healthy, Happy Mind: Lifestyle Strategies for Mental Health
What you get
This comprehensive course teaches students about the impact of lifestyle choices on mental health. Through five modules, students will learn about the connection between an unhealthy lifestyle and mental health issues and gain practical strategies for improving mental and emotional well-being through personalized nutrition, stress management, exercise, detoxification, and self-care.
By the end of the course, students will have developed a personalized meal and supplement plan, as well as a plan for incorporating lifestyle factors that support optimal mental and emotional health into their daily routine.
Whether you are looking to prevent mental health issues or are seeking ways to improve your current mental state, this course provides the knowledge and tools to live a happier, healthier life.
Module 1: Take Charge of Your Mental Health
- Introduction to Mental and Emotional Health
Module 2: Unraveling the Mysteries of Your Brain Chemistry
- Lesson 1: Dopamine
- Lesson 2: GABA
- Lesson 3: Serotonin
- Lesson 4: Acetycholine
Module 3: Designing a Personalized Meal and Supplement Plan
- Getting Started on Your Plan
- Building Your Mental Health Lifestyle Plan
- Creating Your Personal Plan: Setting Ground Rules for Success
Module 4: Lifestyle Factors for Improved Mental Health
- Rest, Repair, Recharge
- Exercise Your Playful Side
- The Power of H2O
- Clean Living
Module 5: The Path to Success
- Signs You May Be Self Sabotaging
- Tips for Overcoming Self-Sabotage
- Practical Support for Tracking Your Progress
Welcome to the Introduction of the Keys to a Healthy, Happy Mind Course!
This self-paced course empowers you to learn at your own schedule. Take at least a week per module to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Go slowly to truly reflect and make changes one step at a time. Transforming habits takes steady time and effort.
For extra help, see the “More Support” Section after Module 5.
Click on the Toggle of each section to access the content.
Welcome to the Keys to a Healthy, Happy Mind course! My name is Kim and I'm the founder of Heal It With Kimness and the creator of this course. I’m here to guide you on your journey to improved mental and physical health.
I want to thank you for choosing me to be a part of your healing journey and support you in this process.
In this course you'll discover how to reduce stress, boost your mood, and increase your overall well-being by implementing simple yet effective strategies.
We'll explore the physical aspects of mental and emotional health and provide you with the tools to identify and address deficiencies that could be affecting your moods and thought processes.
As someone who has struggled with emotional pain, I can understand how challenging it can be to find solutions. Through my own journey, I've discovered practices and tools that are effective and I want to share them with you.
Of course, all of our mental and emotional concerns cannot be resolved by making changes in our physical care but it is a good first step. I believe this is pivotal in the healing process since, until the body is in balance, it's difficult to make progress toward mental and emotional healing.
By the end of this course, you'll be experiencing improvements in your mental and physical health, feeling empowered and motivated to keep moving forward in your healing process, and ready to take the next step in one of my other Heal It With Kimness courses.
So let's get started with the first module and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you.
Pre-Assessment Quiz for "Keys to a Healthy, Happy Mind" Course:
Test your knowledge before beginning the course. This will help you to measure what you learn and how your understanding of mental health and lifestyle is improved throughout the course.
- What is the connection between brain chemistry and mental and emotional health?
- What are some signs of imbalanced brain chemistry?
- What are the four key neurotransmitters, and what are their roles in the brain?
- How can personalized nutrition support healthy brain chemistry production?
- What are some lifestyle factors that impact mental health?
Module 1: Take Charge of Your Mental Health
Are you feeling overwhelmed by stress and anxiety? Do you often feel emotionally drained and mentally exhausted?
This course offers practical solutions to take charge of your mental and emotional wellness. You will learn effective strategies to actively promote your own well-being, from managing stress levels to supporting the production of vital brain chemicals.
By the end of the course, you will have the knowledge and tools you need to achieve optimal mental and emotional health.
Excessive stress and a nutritionally-deficient diet can have a devastating effect on our physical and mental health. For example, stress can lead to anxiety or depression, while poor nutrition can cause fatigue and irritability. To maintain a healthy balance, it's essential to manage stress levels and eat a balanced diet.
Our bodies naturally produce four crucial brain chemicals that enable effective brain and body function: dopamine, acetylcholine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and serotonin.
These chemicals are vital for overall well-being, and in this course, you will learn how to support their production and balance.
It's important to understand the root causes of any issues with your mind and moods. To help you get started, this module includes four questionnaires.
These will guide you in identifying your areas of concern and creating a personalized plan to restore balance in both your mind and body.
Take a few minutes to complete the questionnaires before moving on to the next module.
Keep in mind that the questionnaires are not meant to diagnose, but rather to provide a basic guideline for your plan. By completing them, you will be better equipped to tackle your mental and emotional health goals with clarity and focus.
Each of the 4 Questionnaires linked below contains 20 questions. Answer each question YES or NO, according to your current state.
Think in terms of how you feel most of the time; not just how you feel today. Be as honest as possible.
The more accurate your answers, the more helpful this information will be to you. Your score for each questionnaire will represent your total number of YES answers.
Keys to a Healthy Happy Mind Course Questionnaire 1
Answer each question Yes or No, according to your current state. Think in terms of how you feel most of the time; not just how you feel today. Be as honest as possible. The more accurate your answers, the more helpful this information will be to you. Your score equals your total number of YES answers, which is your Dopamine score.
Keys to a Healthy Happy Mind Course Questionnaire 2
Answer each question Yes or No, according to your current state. Think in terms of how you feel most of the time; not just how you feel today. Be as honest as possible. The more accurate your answers, the more helpful this information will be to you. Your score equals your total number of YES answers, which is your Acetylcholine score.
Keys to a Healthy Happy Mind Course Questionnaire 3
Answer each question Yes or No, according to your current state. Think in terms of how you feel most of the time; not just how you feel today. Be as honest as possible. The more accurate your answers, the more helpful this information will be to you. Your score equals your total number of YES answers, which is your GABA score.
Keys to a Healthy Happy Mind Course Questionnaire 4
Answer each question Yes or No, according to your current state. Think in terms of how you feel most of the time; not just how you feel today. Be as honest as possible. The more accurate your answers, the more helpful this information will be to you. Your score equals your total number of YES answers, which is your Serotonin score.
INTERPRETING YOUR SCORES:
If you answered YES to a minimum of 10 questions in each section, it may indicate a deficiency in that particular neurotransmitter. The higher the score, the more significant the deficiency.
While there are various factors that contribute to the behaviors, attributes, and feelings outlined in the questionnaires, taking action to restore the balance of brain chemicals is a crucial first step.
By addressing any deficiencies, you can make the healing work of managing your emotional difficulties much easier to face.
Keep in mind that if one type of brain chemical is out of balance, it can affect the levels of other chemicals as well. Therefore, it's important to focus on supporting the increase of the most deficient neurotransmitter first.
Incorporating foods and supplements that promote a better balance of multiple brain chemicals into your diet can be helpful.
To track your progress and address any areas that require attention, consider repeating these questionnaires occasionally. It could be helpful to revisit the questionnaires after about 6 weeks to assess your progress and adjust your plan accordingly.
Now that you have the information you need, let's move on to Module 2 to gain more knowledge about these powerful brain chemicals and how to support their production and balance.
Module 2: Unraveling the Mysteries of Your Brain Chemistry
In Module 1, we discussed the importance of four key brain chemicals - Dopamine, Acetylcholine, Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), and Serotonin - for maintaining good mental health.
In this module, we will take a closer look at each of these neurotransmitters, their functions, and how we can support their production naturally.
We all experience imbalances in our systems at some point, which can result in negative mental and emotional symptoms. However, responding to these imbalances with the proper nutrients can have a powerful effect on our mental health.
For example, if you find yourself craving high-fat foods, it may be a sign of low Acetylcholine levels, while binge eating may indicate an imbalance in GABA levels.
While proper nutrition can help support the production of these neurotransmitters, it's important to remember that more is not always better.
Consuming excessive amounts of certain foods or supplements can have negative effects on our health.
Instead, a balanced approach is best, incorporating a variety of nutritious foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Supplements can also be helpful, but they should be used sparingly and with caution. It's essential to speak with a healthcare professional before taking any new supplements, as they can interact with medications and cause unwanted side effects.
By taking a balanced approach to supporting neurotransmitter production, we can promote good mental health without compromising our overall well-being.
In each section of this module, you will find detailed information about one of the four neurotransmitters.
It’s not necessary that you ingest all of this information at once. Instead, consider this a reference resource that you can return to whenever you need it.
Let's explore each of these vital neurotransmitters one at a time to understand how we can support their production naturally.
Lesson 1: Dopamine
Dopamine Information Text Only:
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating movement, motivation, and pleasure.
When dopamine levels are healthy, you may experience better focus, increased energy, and a sense of well-being.
However, when dopamine levels are low, you may experience a range of physical and mental symptoms, including low energy, poor sleep, and difficulty concentrating.
Possible Physical Signs of Dopamine Deficiency:
- Never feel full or satiated
- Compulsive eating
- Low energy
- Belly fat (from high cortisol levels)
- Swollen shoulders
- Puffy face
- Trouble losing weight
Possible Mental Signs of Dopamine Deficiency:
- Emotional instability
- Social anxiety
- Antisocial behavior
- Trouble establishing boundaries
- Negative self-image
- Difficulty communicating
- Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
- Brain burnout
- Poor attention span
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor sleep patterns
- Attention deficit problems
Foods That May Deplete Dopamine Levels:
- high glycemic foods (raise blood sugar levels)
- anything with white flour
- high fructose corn syrup
- regular sodas
- other high sugar foods
Natural Ways to Support Dopamine Production:
- Foods high in Amino Acids Phenylalanine and Tyrosine such as beef, chicken, pork, turkey, duck, wild game, yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese, ricotta, whole milk, granola, oat flakes, wheat germ (i.e., high protein foods)
- Foods high in Amino Acid Leptin such as broccoli, spinach, carrots, apples, unsalted almonds, pomegranate juice, egg whites, salmon
- Spices that boost Dopamine levels are basil, bay, black pepper, cayenne, cumin, fennel, flaxseed, garlic, ginger, mustard seed, rosemary, savory, sesame seeds, tarragon, turmeric
- Double dopamine power with Tea: 2 black tea bags, 2 green tea bags steeped in 4 cups of boiling water and sipped throughout the day
Supplements That May Support Dopamine Production:
- Phenylalanine (DLPA): 500-4000mg/day; fatigue and pain reliever, boosts metabolism
- Tyrosine: 500-4000mg/day; increases energy, ability to burn calories more efficiently, and satiety feeling
- Rhodiola rosea: 50-750mg/day; promotes physical and mental energy
- Chromium: 100-1000mcg/day; helps stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce sugar cravings
- Turmeric: 500-1000 mg/day; boosts Dopamine and Serotonin levels to promote better sleep, helps with stress management, and improves memory
Dopamine boosters are energy-related so take them in the morning or at lunch on a full stomach. It's important to start with the lowest dose and increase only if needed. These dosages are generally considered safe, but check with your healthcare provider for the best dosage for you.
Lesson 2: GABA
GABA Information Text Only:
GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating the nervous system, keeping other neurotransmitters connected, and controlling the brain's rhythm.
GABA has an inhibitory effect on the brain, meaning it reduces neuronal activity and has a calming effect.
A deficiency in GABA can cause anxiety and stress-induced behaviors such as binge eating and addiction.
Healthy GABA levels are crucial, as too much stress from low GABA levels can burn out other neurotransmitters such as Dopamine, Acetylcholine and Serotonin.
Possible Physical Signs of GABA Deficiency:
- Alcohol, drug, and food addictions
- Clammy hands
- Constant burping
- Dizzy spells
- Night sweats
- No appetite in the morning
- Overeating/binging/large portions
- Skipping meals
- Sleep problems
- Feeling generally unwell
Possible Mental Signs of GABA Deficiency:
- bad judgment
- difficulty facing reality
- difficulty handling emotions
- grandiose thoughts
- highly excitable
- mood swings
- feeling overwhelmed
- panic attacks
- panic eating to calm down
- tasks left undone
- trouble with boundaries
Foods That May Deplete GABA Levels:
- Low fiber foods
- Processed foods
- Refined carbohydrates
Natural Ways to Support GABA Production:
- Foods high in Glutamine such as beans, bran, brown rice, corn, dairy, fish, high fiber foods, lentils, meat, oatmeal, peas, poultry, whole wheat breads, root veggies such as yams (sweet potatoes)
- High Vitamin B food like bananas, broccoli, beans, beets, brown rice, cantelope, figs, grapefruit, halibut, kale, lentils, liver, mangos, nuts, oats, oranges, spinach
- Tea - contains Theanine, which calms anxious mind, stops racing thoughts, enables alert but relaxed feeling and better sleep
- Spices that boost GABA levels are caraway, cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, lemongrass, oregano, paprika, poppy seeds. These are all considered calm-down spices.
Supplements That May Support GABA Production:
- GABA: 500-3000mg/day; controls anxiety that leads to overeating
- Taurine: 500-10000mg/day; may inhibit weight gain
- Magnesium: 300-1000mg/day; increases energy production
- Theanine: 100-500mg/day; reduces mental and physical stress and produces feelings of relaxation
- Brain Calm: Contains Valine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Inositol, B-Complex; acts as a natural Valium
These supplements are best taken in late afternoon or evening because of their calming effect. Check with your health care provider to determine the best dosage of these supplements as well.
Lesson 3: Serotonin
Serotonin Information Text Only:
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating mood, appetite, and sleep.
Healthy serotonin levels can contribute to a positive outlook on life and restful sleep.
A deficiency in serotonin can lead to insomnia, depression, and fatigue, which can cause night binging and other addictive behaviors.
Possible Physical Signs of Serotonin Deficiency:
- Persistent fatigue
- Connection to 5 senses declines
- Inability to taste food
- Salt cravings
- Increased hunger and inability to feel satiated
- Night eating
- No appetite in the morning
- Increased production of cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones)
- Unexplained aches and pains
Possible Mental Signs of Serotonin Deficiency:
- drastic change in temperament
- feeling guilty for no reason
- low self esteem
- feeling emotionally numb
- obsessive-compulsive behaviors
- poor impulse control
- problems making decisions
- rash behavior
- reliance on alcohol or drugs to improve mood
- self absorption
- suicidal thoughts
Foods That May Deplete Serotonin Levels:
- canned veggies
- cured meats
- desserts with baking soda or baking powder
- fast food
- salt and salted snacks
- smoked fish
- soy sauce
- worchestershire sauce
Natural Ways to Support Serotonin Production:
- Foods high in Tryptophan such as avocado, chicken, chocolate, cottage cheese, duck, eggs, granola, whole milk, rolled oats, pork, turkey, wheat germ, yogurt
- Spices that boost Serotonin are cinnamon, dill, fennel, licorice (anise), marjoram, nutmeg, peppermint, saffron, spearmint, and turmeric. All these spices are effective for depression, especially nutmeg (which has been compared to Prozac in its effectiveness) and saffron. Cinnamon and fennel have been shown to be especially helpful in warding off carbohydrate cravings.
Supplements That May Support Serotonin Production:
- Melatonin: 3-10mg/day (in pm); promotes sleep and regulates sleep patterns; best for short term use
- 5HTP: 50-500mg/day (in pm); increases production of serotonin, reduces appetite, improves depression and insomnia
- Acetyl-l-carnitine: 500-5000mg/day (in pm); fights depression, restores memory and attention
- Phenylalanine (DLPA): 500-5000mg/day (in am); balances low serotonin with more dopamine, provides energy
- Tryptophan: 500-2000mg/day; provides additional serotonin, increases effectiveness of antidepressants
- St. John's Wort: 500-1000mg/day (standardized to hypericin or hyperforin); fights depression (has been found to be as effective as prescription antidepressants)
- Vitamin B6: 10-500mg/day (in am); reduces fatigue
- Fish oil: 500-3000mg/day (in pm); improves depression, decreases appetite
- Magnesium: 300-1000mg/day (in am); improves energy
While these supplements can be very effective in supporting serotonin production, a balanced approach is essential for supporting good mental health.
Remember that supplements should be used with caution and only under the guidance of a healthcare professional if you take any medications in order to to prevent unwanted side effects.
Lesson 4: Acetylcholine
Acetycholine Information Text Only:
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating memory, attention, and muscle movement.
When acetylcholine levels are healthy, you may experience better memory, focus, and muscle control.
There is also some evidence to suggest that acetylcholine may have a role in maintaining bone mass and reducing fracture risk.
Possible Physical Signs of Acetylcholine Deficiency:
- Crave high fat comfort foods for instant boost
- Frequent urination and bowel movements
- Sexual dysfunction
- Dry skin
- Dry mouth
Possible Mental Signs of Acetylcholine Deficiency:
- Memory lapses
- Attention issues
- Increased paranoia
- Avoiding contact with others
- Difficulty managing daily schedule
- Obsessive thoughts
- Worrying about everyone but self
- Little initiative
- Easily offended
- Needing approval
Foods That May Deplete Acetylcholine Levels:
- Large amounts of saturated fats (solid at room temperature, like butter)
- Large amounts of trans fats (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated)
Natural Ways to Support Acetylcholine Production:
- Foods high in Choline such as plant oils like olive oil, safflower oil, fish oil, lean meats, fish, salmon, shrimp, dairy products, eggs, nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, peanut butter, soybeans, tofu, seeds, avocados, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, fava beans, lettuce, oranges, flax, wheat germ, coffee
- High Calcium foods such as plain yogurt, sardines, soymilk, blackstrap molasses, collard greens spinach, tofu, almonds (blanched), brazil nuts, soy nuts; Calcium helps to regulate metabolism and reduce belly fat.
- Foods high in Lecithin like cauliflower, egg yolks, liver, milk, peanuts, soybeans, wheat germ; Lecithin supports the cardiovascular system, promoting healthy hair, skin, liver function, memory, joints and fat metabolism - make sure to get at least 1 serving a day.
- Spices that boost Acetylcholine levels are allspice, basil, cumin, peppermint, sage, thyme, turmeric
- Increase intellectual stimulation by mastering mental and physical skills and doing exercises that challenge the brain
Supplements That May Support Acetylcholine Production:
- Acetyl-l-carnitine: 500-5000mg/day; aids in burning fat, improves athletic performance and memory function
- Choline: 200-3000mg/day; helps eliminate cravings, protects the liver from fat accumulation, improves brain function and physical performance
- Fish oils: 500-3000mg (3-6 grams)/day; healthy source of fat, decreases appetite, helps to burn calories, increases metabolism and provides energy
- Piracetam (a derivative of GABA): 2000-5000mg/day; may reduce fatigue
- Arginine Vasopressin: must be prescribed; very important hormone used to inhibit or repair memory loss
The supplement doses will depend on the amounts you are getting through your diet. It's best to get as much as possible through foods, but supplementation can be a quicker way to get your Acetylcholine levels back on track.
Again, make sure to check with your healthcare provider for the best dosage for you.
Dopamine, GABA, Acetylcholine, and Serotonin are important neurotransmitters that regulate bodily functions.
Balanced levels of these neurotransmitters are crucial for optimal health, while imbalances can lead to various health issues.
By understanding their functions and supporting their levels through lifestyle factors, we can optimize our brain chemistry and overall health.
It's important to consult with a healthcare professional for significant changes in neurotransmitter levels.
Test Your Knowledge Retention with this short Quiz
Download the BONUS E-Book - “NOURISH YOUR MIND: Foods to Include and Foods to Avoid for a Healthy, Happy Mind”
Where do you go from here? These first two modules of the course have been provided free of charge to give you a foundation that you can use to create a personalized mental health plan.
This information is yours to keep as you start developing strategies to address your specific needs and goals.
For only $47, unlock the full power of this course through accessing the remaining three modules.
Here, you will find in-depth guidance, practical tips and tools for crafting and implementing your mental health plan, including:
- a sample weekly menu plan
- 40 recipes to support your goals
- a customizable grocery shopping list
- several bonus e-books
- a comprehensive resource section with tried-and-true brand and product recommendations
- exclusive membership to the private Facebook group where you can get live support from me through Q&A sessions
- Plus, book a free 30-minute consultation where I can help you tailor your customized plan for long-lasting mental wellness.
Invest in your happiness. Unlock the full course today and let me support you every step of the way as you transform your mental well-being. You are SO worth it!
SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK
Whether you choose to invest in the full course or make the most of the introductory content, I value your opinion.
Please take a few minutes to fill out the short feedback form linked below to share your thoughts on the first two modules - what resonated with you, what could be enhanced, and any other suggestions you may have.
Your honest feedback will help me continue improving and refining this resource to better support others seeking mental wellness. Thank you!