What surrounds you?
How aware are you of the content of your reality? What do you sense? What emotions do you feel? What thoughts are you having? Science is rapidly moving in a direction that acknowledges we are not isolated beings. In fact, we are very continuously and intimately interacting with our environment, and everyone and everything in it.
The heart has 5,000 times more electrical magnetic power than the brain and is communicating all the time to the brain about what messages to send to the body.
In other words, what we feel and how we are loving has a powerful effect on the body and consequently, our health.
As you work to fine-tune your diet and daily habits and behaviors, it would be remiss to not also address the state of the heart.
Instead of feeling like a victim to emotions we don’t want to feel, or feel we cannot control or manage, we can shift this to proactively generating more positive emotions that will change our physiology. At Conscious Wellness, we acknowledge that making diet adjustments can lay a foundation for having the resilience to take this next step into the realm of the heart. Looking inward into this area will require us to feel, and first and foremost to feel what is present before we begin to generate more sustainable and positive feelings. Having quality nutrients from food, or eating foods that nourish rather than deplete, can provide the strength to explore this terrain. If we are constantly depleted from lack of nutrients than there won’t be much energy left to address this necessary level of wellness. Furthermore, if one’s diet is full of inflammatory foods, than the physiology is likely more wired towards inflammatory emotions (quick to anger, irritable, impatient, overwhelmed easily). There really is an intimate link between what we ingest, and take in, and how we feel and what we put out. An inflammatory state, both physically and emotionally, can make the jump to more positive and calm emotions seem impossible. Shifting the diet to bring down inflammation and increase essential nutrients that will soothe and regulate the body will serve to generate wellness, from the heart.
Here are some ideas to address this next level:
1. Gratitude Journaling.
The reason this is so hot right now, is because it works! Gratitude is one of the most powerfully transformative states and if you are dealing with any form of lack, in your perspective (i.e., there’s not enough time/money/resources, I’m not where I want to be, I’ll never reach my goals, I don’t have what it takes, etc.), than gratitude is essential for your wellness. Practicing gratitude every day will start to shift habitual mindsets based in lack and help train your mind to focus on what you do have and what is working well. In doing this, depression can lift and physiology relaxes, decreasing inflammation and increasing how well you can absorb nutrients from food and get rest from sleep and benefits from exercise. Try writing down 5 things every day that you are grateful for, and keep it simple. It can be “my cup of tea, this sunny day, my next breath.”
2. Heart meditation.
We are very focused in the mind and our thinking. Most people are more aware of their mind than their body, often having to make extra effort to tune into the body and how it is feeling. With heart meditation we simply shift our focus out of the head and down into the heart center. Getting comfortable being in the heart area of the body and getting to know this space is a wonderful way to begin to honor this incredible organ, that is extremely powerful in sensing and communicating, and has its own deep wisdom to offer us. Imagine breath coming in and out through the heart and bring forward that positive emotion by recalling a moment where you felt really good, or invoking a sense of appreciation for what you can genuinely appreciate in the moment about your life. For a quick guide, check out this.
3. Spend time in nature.
Being busy, running errands, working overtime and over hard, keeps us in the mind and can keep us feeling dysregulated and on edge. Natural settings actually help to regulate the nervous system and can bring us into calmer, quieter, more peaceful states. Experiment with what type of nature setting works best for you, and notice how long you need to be in nature to feel the shift of worries falling away and stillness settling in. Do you feel at home in a forest? Or near water? Are open landscapes nourishing for you, or dense and lush ones? Do you get different results when you are alone than with others? Be mindful of the temptation to bring the distractions with you into nature. Be willing to take the break and leave it all behind for awhile. You can get back to it all if you wish! Let it be your precious time, time to restore and replenish.
4. Spend time with animals.
Like natural settings, time with animals has the power to help us regulate, calm down and generate positive feelings. Physical contact with animals, like dogs, cats, horses and other domestic pets is especially powerful as it activates the limbic brain for connection and releases oxytocin, which is a love hormone, or feel good hormone.
Hugs are powerfully restorative as long as the hug is wanted, consensual and you feel safe. If there is someone in your life that is open to hugs, go for it, and practice allowing the hug to just be. Notice if you are stiff, or formal, and just observe this. No need to force any changes, but be curious about yourself. Do you feel safe? Is this a habit? Or protection? Where does that come from? Is there anyone you can hug without feeling the need to protect yourself? Bring compassion to any of these areas as you discover them. This is an opportunity to get to know yourself more deeply and love yourself no matter what. While you are at it, give yourself a hug!
6. And finally, Sleep!
Yes! Get enough sleep. Try going to bed at the same time every night, preferably before 10pm, and get at least 8 hours of sleep. This is so restorative for the body and can help move you out of any patterns of high stress. You can refer to this previous blog to get some good sleep tips.
These are simple, yet extremely powerful actions to make that will shift things in the realm of the heart, and thus the mind and the body.
This is not about a quick fix, because there is nothing wrong with you! This is about layering in a resilient, loving foundation to your body and your life, so that you are less overwhelmed and more creative, grateful, and experiencing meaning and connection in life.