We’ve presently assigned the treatment of the mind to psychologists and psychiatrists and the treatment of the body to medical doctors. The problem is that no one addresses the whole person. We must realize that we are more than just bearers of nerves, muscles, bones, organs, and fluids. Likewise, we are more than chemicals that need to be balanced in our brain.
Your mind is what controls whether you are in your Sympathetic Nervous System or your Parasympathetic Nervous System. This is another way of describing the method of how our body can heal itself (along with the relationship that the mind has in the process). Our thoughts and emotions dictate whether our body produces hormones that encourage or discourage healing. This is why when we think good, we feel good. Indeed, what we think about is of the upmost importance and is an integral part of our health and wellbeing.
I’ve been a massage therapist for four years, but I often joke and say that people come in for a session and forget about the “massage” part of my title (they look to me as a therapist). It’s true that I’ve journeyed with you through…
We’re in the middle of a discussion about meditation. I’ve been setting you up for this for months, explaining the various health benefits of meditating and becoming parasympathetic. Now, are you ready? Below I’ve explained the fifteen most common exercises I practice on my meditation cushion. I recommend choosing one and sticking with it for five to twenty minutes. Like I always say, start on the short end and gradually work your way up to longer periods of meditating.
Breathe in and out through your nostrils and keep your eyes gently closed (unless otherwise specified). My meditation instructor, Victor Parachin, recommends doing yoga and meditation in a two-to-one ratio; for example, stretch for twenty minutes and then meditate for ten. Typically when I meditate, I start with a simple phrase, such as saying to myself “in” as I inhale and “out” as I exhale. After a few minutes of that (once my mind has calmed down a bit), I then transition into a different meditative exercise. There are thousands to choose from, but here are just a few of my favorites:
- Count your inhalations/exhalations: Take a nice, long, deep breath in and out through the nose and then…
Self-care: two four-letter words. Taking care of ourselves is a foreign concept that’s often given a bad rap because it’s labeled “selfish” and thus invokes feelings of blame and guilt. This is indeed something that we all tend to struggle with. From what I’ve noticed, the problem seems to be two-fold; first, it seems like we don’t understand how valuable we are and second, our schedules are much too busy. We become our last priority because there is always 148 other things to do (most of which have a dead line or due date).
I’ve known most of you for a while now. I can verify that you are a priceless masterpiece that is amazing, strong, worthy, beautiful, unique, capable, magnificent, talented, admirable, likable, and wonderful. That being said, you need to treat yourself with the utmost acceptance, honor, dignity, respect, kindness, and appreciation. (When you think like this, you’ll automatically take care of yourself. Knowing our value naturally leads to self-care.)
Taking care of yourself isn’t about partaking in certain activities (i.e. yoga and meditation); self-care is going to look different for everyone, but it’s always centered around forming a commitment, adopting a new mindset, and starting…
I’ve compiled over 200 different ways to improve and take care of yourself holistically–that is, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. One method won’t work for everyone–that’s why I’ve listed over 50 suggestions in each category. Speaking from a holistic perspective, it’s ironic that I’ve attempted to categorize certain activities as “physical” and others as “mental”, etc. since it’s obvious that something like yoga is going to affect you in all four ways, as can laughing, quitting a bad habit, running a 5K, etc. Don’t let this list give you the illusion that the bullet point activities will only affect the one area of your life which I’ve categorized them under for the sake of organization.
For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a self-improvement junkie. It was Zig Ziglar who said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Consider printing off this list of tips for improving and taking care of yourself. Review it often. Don’t expect to just read this once and it change your life. Take action. Chew on this list, internalize it, and make…