You may already be on a fresh path to the start of your 2019 with all kinds of intentions or resolutions. If so, good for you. I have not been as quick to jump into 2019. Instead I’ve been lingering at its threshold. In my imagination, I’ve been scanning an essential body, mind and spirit inventory. I have a loving partner and a warm home. Gratefulness flows for being able to count my 64 years along with the use of my 10 toes and fingers.
As January comes to a close, I am thinking about parts of my life that require continued attention and reflecting on my values and beliefs. I came up with a written list of what I wanted to give priority to along with a bunch of doodling along the side page. Everything I wrote was connected to body, mind and spirit – no surprises but it helped me understand how interconnected thoughts can be.
I picked three empowering actions from the list with some tailored tweaks to send your way. The spiritual aspect is an individual practice. The connection is there if you seek it.
Be More Physically Fit & Less Wedded to Screen Time
I lump these two action items together because I view them as active vs sedentary time. Sedentary time has a way of creeping into a large part of our days thanks to modern life. We can control some of that inactivity and turn it into activity.
Here are a few ideas that involve physical, mental and spiritual connections.
1. Take a walk at lunch time with colleagues or friends. Stay away from negative talk and use it as a time to watch what you say. Is it gossip? Negative? This makes me think of the first Agreement; be impeccable with your words. (The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz)
2. Be in nature - walk, hike or run in the woods. Find time to go to a place that makes you feel connected to nature. Is now the time to bring a dog into your life for companionship and exercise?
2. This is a good time of year to look into buying a used stationary bike or tread mill as people buy new ones. Or, be the one to buy the new treadmill and give away or sell yours. This is discretionary time to help pass away the clock time. Use it positively and notice your heart rate increasing.
3. Yoga can be done at home or in a class. Find what’s best for you.
4. If you are a senior there are great classes at the local senior centers to join. Connect with others.
5. This is a good time of year to find deals on joining a fitness center, class or activity. What interests you? Pickle ball? Bowling? Again, connect with others and be open.
Make a conscious effort to trade screen time for more exercise, relaxation activities, reading, being with your child, spouse, pet or one-on-one friend time.
Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Become a RAK - tivist!
I admit to being a novice in this area but when I’ve given a RAK I instantly felt a gratifying and giddy response within my body. Think how good it feels for the receiver. This is a win-win.
I will share a list of RAK activities in next month’s blog. February 17 is RAK Day! I look forward to it.
Find Ways to Bring Peace Into Your Day
I saved the best for last because I believe it is most important to health, well-being, and the planet. It has a positive affect on others around you. Think of the Dali Lama and his radiant smile and energy. My favorite activities here are meditation and singing (in the shower or alone in the house).
The stress response is automatic. It is there to protect you from the saber tooth tiger. Modern day existence has replaced the tiger with modern day chronic stress. Think of your foot being stuck on the gas petal.
The relaxation response is not automatic. You need to figure out how to engage your body’s relaxation response. Directing your body into the relaxation response helps create a calm and peaceful body, mind and spirit. This is pure physiology. Our bodies and minds can do amazing feats if we support them properly.
Life could be so much nicer if we committed ourselves to this daily practice. We would be far less triggered by people, events and situations; feel more joy, smile and laugh more, and receive more pleasure and benefits from our work and family lives. The sum total supports healthier bodies and happier minds and spirit.
The vagus nerve, when activated, helps create the relaxation response. It is the largest nerve in the body running from the base of the brain all the way through our major organs except adrenals and thyroid.
Here are ten ways to activate the vagus nerve creating a relaxation response.
1. Singing or Chanting
There are a variety of guided meditations that can be used to help get started. My favorites are Insight Timer (free) and Jon Kabat-Zinn (Series 2 app., $9.99)
4. Breathe Deeply/Breathing Exercises
8. Massages (especially foot)
9. Tai Chi
Do your best with your fresh start to 2019 knowing that your best will be different from day to day. I will do the same.
Be well and enjoy being.