Mind, Body, Spirit
Alan Alda speaking at a medical school graduation told the young doctors that it was imperative for them to remember something that he was sure they hadn't learned in anatomy and physiology: "--- the head and the heart are connected and you must all do your best to never break that bond---". How many times in our lives do WE, ourselves, forget that our heads, hearts --- and spirits are connected? How many times do we ignore the messages that our bodies send to us letting us know that there is a problem, a difficulty, a stress, a dis-ease? Our bodies communicate with us regularly; they let us know when we're hungry, tired, confused, angry, upset (either over something that we ate, or something that has occurred, etc.) This COMMUNICATION is imperative! Do you stop and pay attention? Do you stop whatever it is you're doing and acknowledge and respect the message that your body is communicating? How often do you tell yourself when those hunger pangs hit that you can wait, or that you shouldn't eat anyway?
How often do you tell yourself that the stress at work that gives you a severe headache, doesn't matter; that you just have to "suffer" and "deal with it" just to get through the day? Do you ignore or minimize those back aches and sense of fatigue by saying that everyone is stressed and it will pass if you can just make it through till the weekend or until your next vacation? These are all ways in which you disrespect yourself by breaking the bond between your body and mind. These messages of denial are not enhancing to your overall self-esteem and are definitely dangerous to your well being. I am not saying that the minute a hunger pang hits, you should stop what you are doing; or the minute you feel stress at work you should quit your job. I am saying, however, that these messages have to be acknowledged, addressed and respected. They have to be dealt with, NOT ignored! STOP! BREATHE! FOCUS! How do you want to handle these messages. Remind yourself that you are receiving these messages for a reason. Make a conscious decision as to what you do, not an automatic one.
What do you do in order to relax and unwind so that you can reconnect to your inner worth---to the part of you that knows "who I am is enough, and I deserve to be treated as such"--- to the part of you that is connected to something more than your day-to-day existence. This is a connection to your spirituality. Spirituality is NOT about religion or any one god. Spirituality is defined as the way people find meaning, hope, comfort, connection, inner peace, strength, love and other positive intangibles in their lives. Some people find it in their religious beliefs, others through music, art, nature, values and principles, exercise, walking, meditation, etc. There are a multitude of choices when it comes to anyone's spiritual connection. No one can tell you what your spiritual connection "should" be. Only you can decide what works for you. Without an awareness of, or connection to what grounds you or centers you, you are at greater risk of imbalances in your mind and body.
Most people do not realize that many imbalances in their physical bodies start from outside their bodies. These imbalances may be from stressors in our environment, constant negative debilitating thoughts or anxiety As individuals we must learn how to treat ourselves with the love, respect and compassion that we deserve and need. Unfortunately, way too many people stop doing the very centering and loving things they need when these stresses hit. Too many people have been taught to "power on" through any obstacle and ignore their feelings and emotions. This is only one way people learn to live "unconsciously". They learn to block out any feelings they may have so that they don't have to stop and deal with them. There is an inherent fear that if they stop to ponder, deal with or explore their feelings then they'll become overwhelmed and fall behind, or be seen as weak, or perhaps come to a realization which they are not yet ready to handle. Learning to take care of yourself prior to any problem really erupting seems alien to many people. Have you been taught to put "band-aids" on problems rather than prevent them or seek out the root causes? Do you avoid taking care of yourself.
It takes time, energy, and patience to pay attention to ourselves: to our needs, our thoughts, and our feelings. Are you willing to take that time, energy and patience, and give yourself the love, respect and compassion that you deserve BEFORE you are physically ailing, or will you wait until you have no choice?
I offer you the following 5 reminders that you can choose to incorporate into your life, to enhance your awareness and increase your connectedness to your total being:
TOP 5 OPTIONS TO CONSIDER IN ENHANCING YOUR AWARENESS AND CONNECTEDNESS TO YOUR MIND BODY AND SPIRIT
1. BREATHING: Once every hour, STOP! BREATHE! FOCUS! Breathe in for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4 and exhale slowly for the count of 4, wait to the count of 4 and start again. (do this for 60 seconds) This is called square breathing. Slow, deep breathing brings clarity, calmness, centering to our bodies and minds. Every hour, just 1 minute of breathing can make a huge difference in your attitude, your perspective and your day.
2. STRETCHING: enables you to: release physical tension, release toxins, correct your physical positioning, get your blood flowing, and oxygenate your muscles.
3. MINDFULNESS: Be aware of your feelings, your reactions, needs, etc....Always ask "What is My desired outcome?" Please remember that, in any situation, a desired outcome MUST be something over which you have control.
4. DIET/FOODS YOU EAT: Notice how you feel in response to foods; honestly and without judgments. What are your comfort foods, and what are you really looking for? Pay attention to your body's responses to your choices.
5. SUPPORT SYSTEM: Who or what is in your support system? Who do you talk to? Are you willing to reach out to them... friends, doctor, therapist, clergy, family member, etc. Ask for what you want and then take a deep breath and ACCEPT the help, guidance and assistance that is offered. This is a hard one for most people...because it means you're allowing yourself to be vulnerable. (this is yet another topic for another day)
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." — Albert Einstein
Are you ready to enjoy the journey?