Let’s start with a big question: How are you treating your body? If your body could speak, what would it say to you?
Listening to our body is important because our bodies are smart. They tell us when we are treating ourselves well and when we are treating ourselves poorly. Listen closely, because even when we feel we are maintaining good health, there is always room for improvement. Perhaps a second questions should be: Am I feeling joy in my life?
Taking responsibility for our wellbeing and being engaged in the process of staying balanced physically and emotionally are keys to being healthy. We don’t have to and we shouldn’t wait for a wakeup call or a time of a crisis to take better care of ourselves.
If you’ve read my story, you know that I was unhealthy, unhappy, full of many health challenges including carrying around 90 pounds of extra weight for most of my life. I had an epiphany when my mother passed at 65, and I realized that if I continue to push my way through life, controlling, fixing, making effort, fighting ? I will end up like her, with a heart attack at 55 and dying at 65. All my life I?d repeatedly gained and lost weight, never able to be consistent. I was treating my body poorly! After my mother died, I started to take better care of myself, and that’s when my life changed for the better. From my experience, I?d like to share with you my 3 best practices for total body wellness.
But first, let’s explore stress.
Stress is the main cause of illness. There is a lot of science that backs up this statement.
In people who live with chronic stress, their fight-or-flight response never shuts off and their cortisol levels remain elevated, potentially increasing the risk for depression, hypertension, and possibly some cancers. People under chronic stress are at a higher risk for upset stomach or indigestion and can suffer from memory loss and a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
My experience shows that although it is helpful to identify and eliminate stressors, it is actually more beneficial to focus on making yourself happy than on relieving the stress.
By bringing joy and creating space for balance in your life, you are contributing to your physical and emotional health. Note that I am using the words ?bringing? and ?creating space for.? I’m not saying working hard to heal! Many of us are DOERS, and when it comes to stress we often work hard trying to getting rid of it. That’s what I did for many years. But this exhausting process of healing and relieving stress can drain us.
I have many conversations with people who are so committed to their process of personal growth that they work really hard on DOING it, but they don’t enjoy the process. When I coach, write, or talk with people, I see it as my mission to help them shift from WORKING on something to ALLOWING it to happen. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about action and moving forward, but there is energy behind the process. The altitude and the approach need balance between MAKING it happen and LETTING it happen.
This brings me to the very effective practices I want to share with you:
3 best practices for total body wellness
- The ?Joy NMW? Practice: Joy No Matter What
There is great value in focusing on joy and feeling better. Bringing joy to life is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Everything we do, with a little adjustment and possibly a different attitude, could always be more fun. It all depends on how we look at things. Sometimes just learning how to laugh at ourselves can open doors to new and exciting ways to experience enjoyment. Think about young children: It is natural for them to play and have fun, but most of us have put fun on the back burner and have more ?important? priorities to deal with. Learn to laugh at yourself.
When you make joy and fun a priority and you are committed to Joy NMW, you feel better emotionally, and when you feel better emotionally you are more hopeful, inspired, and motivated. In other words, your vibration is higher so exercising, eating healthy, and
dealing with pain and health challenges require less effort.
As Esther Hicks says: ?You can be sick and feel hopeful, or you can be sick and feel afraid.?
Remember that it is in YOUR hands to feel better emotionally, regardless of what’s going on physically.
So how do you bring more joy to life? The first step is to create a state of mind that supports that, to make it a priority. Throughout your day, ask yourself one simple question: how much fun can I have right at this moment?
- Creating More Space on your Plate.
So many people I work with, especially women, have so much on their plates! They expect themselves to be superwomen, and the load of their personal and professional responsibilities is super heavy!
Let’s explore how to deal with this. I?ll start backwards, just for fun. Get rid of stuff. Simply delete it from your life or delegate and ask somebody else to take it off your plate and move it to theirs. But the first step is to be willing to take things off your plate. So do yourself a favor. Look at your life right now and ask yourself: What can I take off my plate? Not only will this help you manage stress better, you will also feel lighter, freer, and physically, it will be easier for you to breathe! First, allow yourself to let go, and then ? delegate things that no longer serve you.
If this practice speaks to you and you would like to get specific instructions read more about the Plate Game.
- Balancing DOING with BEING.
This time I am not only talking about a state of mind. I am talking about a practice. I’m talking about undoing the habit of over-doing. I’m talking about creating a daily practice of BEING to help you balance the DOING.
But let’s remember the importance of enjoying what we’re doing. If you force yourself to meditate and you feel dragged down doing that ?or for that matter, anything you do that you don’t enjoy ? make it fun or don’t do it. My daily morning practice is 15 minutes of giving Reiki to myself, combined with meditation. That’s my practice and I love it. It helps me come back to myself, to my body; it helps me connect with my heart and with my soul. Your practice should make you feel good. It should be something that you look forward to because it makes you feel better. It can be simple and easy, and you can start with just 5 minutes. Adult coloring books are a fun practice for some. Gardening or walking in nature works for others. You may feel that reading something inspiring or spiritually enriching fills you up. Whatever works for you and helps you ?BE?, make a commitment to begin adding this practice to your life, in the morning, afternoon, or evening. The ?when? isn’t as important as the ?what.?
When your body tells you that you are over-heated, you recognized that because you sweat, sometimes profusely. When you are enormously stressed, you can feel your heart pound. When you are physically exhausted, your muscles ache for rest. These are outward and easy ways to hear your body. But listen more closely. Your body is smart and tells you in many ways what you need. Remember that your well-being and long-term physical, mental, and emotional health is at stake. Don’t push too hard to make things better.
Adapt these 3 practices: Joy NMW, Clean things off your plate, and Balance DOING with BEING. Start small, but start today. Your body will thank you.