Posts for tag: mindfulness
Spring is fast approaching! This lovely season in Florida is the perfect time to start spending more time outdoors. For many of us who work indoors, it might require a bit more effort and planning to make sure that we get enough fresh air and natural light. A typical schedule during the week might include eight hours in an office, a drive home, and then an evening indoors. Perhaps mixed in that timeline, you pick up your children from school or their extracurricular activities and or you exercise at an indoor gym or studio.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends 93% of their life indoors! The scientifically-proven health benefits of spending time outdoors and in nature are quite vast. To receive these benefits, you don’t even necessarily need to make a grand effort. Spending time in any type of greenspace can benefit your overall health and wellness in over a dozen ways.
These benefits include reduced inflammation, improved short-term memory, lowered stress levels, increased energy, lessened symptoms of depression and anxiety, decreased blood pressure, boosted immune system, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type II diabetes; heightened concentration, increased creativity, and a reduction in pain in the body. Spending time outdoors is also a surefire way to get your daily dose of vitamin D, which many of us are deficient in.
Ready to spend more time outdoors?
Here are some easy ways to work some outdoor-time into your daily schedule.
- Enjoy your morning beverage on your patio or balcony
- Dine al fresco
- Exercise outside
- Take an extra or an extra-long walk with your dog (Your dog will definitely appreciate this effort.)
- Create an outdoor ritual
- Pursue an outdoor hobby (running, tennis, swimming, biking, nature photography, hiking-the possibilities are endless!)
- Plan an outdoorsy vacation
- Take an after-dinner bike ride
- Watch the sunrise or sunset
- Build a garden (If you don't have the greenest thumb or don't have a lot of outdoor space, the Tower Garden is a great option! Dr. Blake or Honi can tell you more about it if you are interested. They are both experienced Tower Gardeners.)
- Walk or bike instead of driving when possible
Aristotle once declared that “we are what we repeatedly do.” This declaration is our truth. We each have a series of rituals that we perform daily. Many of those rituals are mindlessly incorporated into our daily lives though. These can include having a cup of coffee before you do anything else in the morning, reading the newspaper on your patio, eating lunch at noon every day, turning on the news when you get home from work, etcetera. In this case, rituals and habits are interchangeable.
If we are what we repeatedly do, then why not regularly do something that brings meaning and a sense of fulfillment into your life? Our habits can make or break us. Replacing negatives habits with positive rituals can do wonders for your health and happiness.
Creating a mindful ritual can also significantly improve your sense of self-awareness, self-love, and self-worth. Rituals help us to establish a deeper relationship with our self. They also help us to create a space or time that is dedicated to something that brings us joy, peace, and clarity. Healthy rituals can help us to move in a positive forward direction and improve the quality of our lives, one day at a time.
Dr. Deepika Chopra, a holistic psychologist and manifestation expert, states that “the more we can rely on constants, the more we are able to positively engage in spontaneity.” Rituals don’t necessarily need to have a spiritual undertone either; they can involve any practice or activity. Rituals can also be created to include your family or friends; they don’t always need to be something that you do alone. The possibilities are endless and what makes your ritual or rituals so special is that they are unique to you and with whomever, you decide to participate.
How to create a ritual
Step 1: Establish what you want to bring into your life.
Do you want to be happier? Healthier? More creative? Do you want to strengthen your physical body? Do you want to find a spiritual connection? Spend more time in nature? Develop a deeper relationship with your family or friends? Do you want to read more? Learn more? Sleep deeper? Learn to quiet your mind?
By taking the time to think about what you want to manifest consciously, you will be able to create a ritual that suits what you want to bring to fruition.
Step 2: Create an action-based plan that includes a time and a place.
Decide when, where, and how often you are going to practice your new ritual. Making a clear and concrete plan for your new ritual will help you stick to it and make it a conscious habit. Your ritual can be as simple or as grand as you want it to be. Maybe it’s just taking a moment every day at sunset to thank the universe for all that she has given you. Or perhaps you want to start each day with a twenty-minute sunrise yoga practice. Maybe it’s making your morning coffee a technology-free time.
Your ritual is unique to you.
Step 3: Make a promise to yourself.
Our lives are full of hustling and bustling. Our days often blend into one another because we are so ingrained in our routines. Incorporating a positive and mindful ritual into your day will help break up the monotony of our other daily habits and tasks. To stick to a new ritual though, you must make a promise to yourself to complete it no matter what. It will take time to turn your new ritual into a mindful habit, but once you do, you won’t be able to imagine your day without it.
Rituals help bring balance and stability into our lives. There is no limit on the number of rituals that you can create for yourself. The idea is to do something consistently that brings meaning and joy into your life. There is no time like the present to make time for you.
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.