Our natural state as humans is one of well-being, which is feeling good, healthy, happy and satisfied. There are many things that can occur throughout our day and lifetime that make it difficult for us to maintain this natural state. Stress, or pressure from responsibilities, disappointments, losses, or other people and challenging things that aren’t in our control to fix, are just a few of the things that can remove us from a state of well-being. When we are not doing things each day to bring ourselves back to our natural state of well-being, it can lead to chronic stress, fatigue, negative thinking, overwhelm and unhappiness. Often times we look for things outside of our self to quickly bring us back to feeling good. We may turn to sugary or fatty foods to soothe our stress. We may turn to substances, such as drugs or alcohol to numb or drown the helplessness we feel to solve our problems. We may turn to the internet, texting, or video games to distract us from overwhelming responsibilities. We may turn to cigarettes to take a break from work, etc.
Using these external vices may seem to make us feel good temporarily. The only problem is that looking for something outside of ourselves to fix the way we are dealing with and responding to life can lead to long-term negative consequences. Continuing with these unhealthy vices can lead to addiction.
In order to gain a sense of well-being without negative consequences, we need to be using an internal strategy, instead of an external vice. Internal strategies can be our thoughts, our beliefs, our breath, our muscles and joints, anything within our being. Here are some quick internal strategies that can help:
1. Daily gratitude. Each day as you are waking up, begin with thankful thoughts. For example: I am thankful to have a bed to sleep in. I am thankful to have food in my home. I am thankful I have transportation. I am thankful for my eyesight. I am thankful for the people that love me, etc. Gratitude leads to contented thinking, which produces happiness.
2. Sleep breathing. Each day take a couple of minutes and close your eyes, while focusing on how your body breathes all by itself. Don’t assist your breathing in any way. This calms the nervous system, relaxes our muscles, helps quiet the mind, and reduces stress.
3. Self-soothing talk. Throughout each day, purposely say things to yourself that encourage and build confidence. For example: ‘I come equipped to handle all that life presents to me, one moment at a time’ or ‘I always have value, regardless of my mistakes’, or ‘ I am able to let go of what happened in the past and look for the good in this moment.’ Self -soothing talk balances our emotions and increases our mental health.
“The only way the past can drag you back
is if you choose to bring it with you into the present”
4. Sit for guidance. Each day take a few minutes to close your eyes, take in a few deep breaths and as you exhale breathe out all negative thoughts and energy you have accumulated in your being. Allow your breathing to go back to its natural breathing pattern and ask, “what is your will for me today Spirit?’ Continue to focus on your breathing and pay attention to any visual images and ideas you get. Write them down and read them throughout the day. Sitting for guidance reinforces us staying on track and prioritizing what’s important to enhance our spiritual health.
5. Stretch and move. Each day take a few minutes to stretch, walk or hold positions that release physical tension. Movement enhances physical health and reduces cortisol build up from stress in the body. Stretching and holding yoga positions helps keep our mind connected to our body and can decrease dissociative tendencies.
6. Give yourself something to look forward to. Each day plan a few minutes to do something you really enjoy such as; talking to a friend, taking a short nap, spending time in nature, looking at something beautiful, listening to your favorite music, drawing or painting. Giving yourself something to look forward to will increase your sense of enjoyment from life and helps with motivation by giving us a daily reward for getting through our day.
Incorporating strategies that promote well-being each day, only takes a few minutes and makes a significant positive difference for our mind, body and spirit for a healthy, whole and ‘Well Being’ 🙂
Written by: Elisabeth Davies, MC