Posts for tag: mindfulness
Valentine’s Day is a day usually celebrated with someone whom you love. Whether this love is romantic, platonic, familial, or the love between you and your furry best friend, the day is recognized as a day of love. Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but this doesn’t mean that the celebration of love needs to end. Since you’ve just celebrated shared love, why not switch gears for a moment and celebrate self-love?
“Self-love, self-respect, self-worth: There’s a reason they all start with ‘self.’ You can’t find them in anyone else.” -Anonymous
It is often the case that we give more love to others than we do to ourselves. We neglect to love the one person who we will spend every second of the entirety of our lives with. What is often not realized is that the more we love ourselves and strengthen the relationship that we have with ourselves, the more capable we are of sharing our love with others.
“Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purposes and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts”- Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D, Psychology Today
The seven steps that Dr. Khoshaba prescribes are to become mindful, act on what you need rather than what you want, practice good self-care, set boundaries, protect yourself, forgive yourself, and to live intentionally. Imagine if you treated yourself with the unconditional love that you bestow on the people in your life that are dearest to you? Taking care of yourself first isn’t selfish.
You’ve likely heard the claim that you can’t love another person until you love yourself first. And well this is not entirely true; the significance of this claim is that our ability to love comes from within. There are endless ways to express self-love.
Taking care of your physical self by eating healthy, exercising, getting sufficient sleep, staying hydrated, maintaining your oral health, keeping up with annual medical check-ups, and just listening to the signs your body gives you is self-love. Taking care of your spiritual self through meditation, yoga, spending time in nature, journaling, and practicing gratitude is self-love.
Here are a few simple ways you can start practicing self-love today:
Create a gratitude journal
Implement a “treat yourself” day
Make a list of all the things that you like about yourself
Pay it forward
Go for a long walk
Learn something new
Let go of what no longer serves you
Clean out your closet
Take a nap
Make a cup of tea and read
Designated a “no screens” time
Get a massage
Write a letter to yourself and don’t open it for one year
Take a hot bath
Create a self-love mantra such as “I love and accept me for me”
When we take care of ourselves, we are better suited to take care of others, and that’s really how the world goes around. As the Beatles once sang, “All you need is love.”
Our environment, on a global, community, and home-base level, directly affects our physical and emotional wellness, which in turn affects all other dimensions of our wellness. Environmental wellness is dependent upon the way that we take care of our environment. The idea is to live consciously, mindfully, and harmoniously with the Earth, and to also care for the spaces that we create.
What’s good for the planet is good for us. Living an environmentally-well life is having respect for the Earth and respect for yourself through your choices and actions. The same way that we are only given one body for the entirety of our life, we are collectively only given one Earth. We must take care of our environment so that our environment can take care of us.
- Using re-useable bags and bottles, instead of single-use plastics
- Saying no to plastic straws, coffee cups and lids, to-go containers, and any other type of plastic that you use for mere minutes and then throw away
- Turning off the lights, fans, TV, and other electricity-dependent things when you are not using them
- Buying and eating locally-sourced fruits and vegetables
- Buying organic and fair-trade goods
- Eating more plant-based verses animal-based diets
- Limiting or eliminating red meat
- Walking or biking instead of driving when possible
- Using environmentally-friendly products including sunscreen and cleaning supplies
- Supporting or volunteering with causes that you are passionate about
Taking care of your environmental wellbeing also includes:
- Keeping a clean house (excessive trash, mold, dirt, dust, and clutter are detrimental to your health)
- Making your home a sanctuary (a place where you feel safe, comfortable, and at peace in)
- Surrounding yourself with positive people
- Spending more time outdoors and in nature
- Walking barefoot more (stay tuned for a post about “earthing”)
- Protecting yourself against environmental hazards such as harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, secondhand smoke, chemicals, air pollution, contaminated water, and even too much noise
We are responsible for the space we live in and we must be respectful of the space that others, including all living beings not just humans, live in. Our living environment should reflect the way we want to feel, which of course is happy and healthy.
A major component of your individual wellness includes your emotional wellness. We’ve all heard the phrase, “stress kills,” and there is actually a great truth behind this statement. Our mental and emotional state can directly affect our physical state.
At Parker Dentistry Facial Rejuvenation and Wellness, we know that the best approach to health is a holistic and preventative approach. Taking care of your emotional wellbeing will benefit more than just your mind, mood, and mental state.
Your emotional wellbeing is dependent on how you manage your stress levels, how much sleep you regularly get, how organized and productive you are with your professional or school work, the support you receive from your friends, family, and or a therapist, your activity level, and your spiritual wellbeing (check out last week’s blog post), among so many other essential elements.
According to the American Psychological Association, mismanaged stress keeps roughly 40% of adults up at night. Insufficient and restless sleep only further perpetuates stress levels, so this cycle is quite detrimental. Stress has been linked to heart disease, insomnia, depression, anxiety, obesity, headaches, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, the common cold, and even certain types of cancer.
Most of our everyday lives contain multiple potential stress-causers: work deadlines, pressure from our bosses, family responsibilities, financial obligations, social commitments, unforeseen expenses and events, health issues, and just everyday life tasks. It is a common feeling to feel like there is never enough time in a day. While we are trying to accomplish everything that we feel is important, we often overlook or push to the backburner aspects of our own wellbeing, including our emotional wellbeing.
While no one’s life is completely void of stress-causing events and situations, those who learn how to manage their stress, prioritize their to-do lists, seek support, and make their emotional wellbeing an important dimension of their overall health and wellness, will be far healthier, happier, and all and all better off.
Tips for emotional wellbeing
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Seeking therapy doesn’t mean you have failed or are incapable.
- Make sleep, a healthy diet, a regular exercise routine, and a little “me-time” a top priority.
- Create an obtainable routine.
- Pick your battles.
- Learn to breathe and mediate.
- Journal or make lists before you go to sleep and or in the morning.
- Spend more time with the people who bring you the most joy and peace.
- Spend more time outdoors and in nature.
- Accept that no one is perfect, no one can do it all all the time, and that tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start.
What makes you happy?
When was the last time you checked in with your happiness? If you were put on the spot and asked how happy you are, what would you say? Would you break eye contact and stumble around for a generic response like “I’ve never been happier,” or “Of course, I am happy?”
Each and every one of us deserves to live a life filled with happiness. The catch is though, happiness doesn’t just happen. We are the creators of our own happiness. It is up to you to recognize what fills you with joy, bliss, exuberance, laughter, warmth, satisfaction, tranquility, and content. This recognition often steams from a bit of reflection.
The source of happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be something as simple as filling your refrigerator with colorful fresh and healthy food for the week, taking a long walk on the beach with your dog, or sitting by a fire with your best friend and a glass of wine after a long week of work. Or, it can be something more monumental like watching your children grow into kind, ambitious, and inspiring individuals, reaching your financial goal and embarking on a grand adventure to a new land, dedicating your time to a career that you truly love, or spending every day with the love of your life. The spectrum is infinite.
To live a happy life is to dance across the spectrum. It is acknowledging both the little and grand things that bring you joy and fulfillment. It is also going beyond just acknowledging what contributes to your happiness and making a conscious effort to ensure that a multitude of those things are part of your everyday life.
Make a list, mental or written, of all the things that come to mind when you think of yourself happy. The list doesn’t need to be in any particular order. Just take note of what surfaces in your mind.
Here’s a quick example of the start of a list.
I am happy when…
I am in the ocean.
I am outside and surrounded by nature.
I am doing something active like surfing, walking, hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, or snorkeling.
I do yoga several times a week.
My house is stocked with fresh produce and healthy food.
I do something creative like write or take photographs.
I am with the person I love.
I am with my family.
I am with my dog.
I spend time with my closest friends.
I watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee.
I complete a deadline for a project I’ve been working really hard on and see my finalize work published.
I have time to myself.
Try and dig deep and really think about even the littlest things that bring you joy like doing a coconut avocado facial while drinking a hot cup of tea or taking a nap during a rainy afternoon or perhaps cranking up the tunes and lighting up the grill. When you feel like you have a pretty substantial list, the next step is to evaluate how often the things that make you happy are taking place in your current life. As simple as it may sound, the key to happiness is doing more of what makes you happy.
It is easy to get caught up in the everyday. It is easy to make excuses, procrastinate, and get your priorities out of wrack. It is easy to put everyone else’s needs and happiness before your own. But this year is your year. Part of living your best life is being mindful, present, and in tune with you. Sometimes that first step to change is just asking a simple question.
The first week of a brand new year is a perfect opportunity to reflect upon the lessons you’ve learned, the feats you’ve accomplished, the hurdles you’ve cleared, and the happiest moments of your prior year. We learn and evolve from our experiences. Reflection is part of living mindfully.
Along with meditation, whether still or moving, and present mindfulness, the act of reflection is a fluid one. No thought or memory should be held on to, but rather given the freedom of a floating feather. Returning briefly to moments in 2017 when you felt the best, were the happiest, were the most peaceful, and felt the most proud, will help you achieve your goals and desired state of being in the new year to come. It is in remembering the best parts of a year that you will find inspiration to create more.
The year 2017 seemed to be quite a roller coaster for the collective majority. And, for some reason, the bad often casts a cloak of invisibility over the good. During this week of reflection, let the bad be of the past and the good prevail in the present. Consciously recollecting times when you were living your best life will help remind you that you have the majority control over your future. Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
For some, it might be beneficial to write a list of the best parts of your year, while for others the journey might be completed internally. Maybe you would like to vocalize your reflections and converse with a close friend or family member. The point is, don’t throw the good out with the bad. Set aside a little interrupted time for a brief year in a review this week. A cup of hot tea pairs nicely with this mindful exercise.
In the last year when was a moment (any length of time) that you felt…
Proud of yourself?
Bursting with joy?
Giddy with excitement?
Feel free to add to this list. Consciously bring attention to these sensations, emotions, and experiences and then do as Ralph Waldo Emerson advises and “write it on your heart that everyday is the best day of the year.”
Thank you for sharing a smile with us this week!