Thursday, December 29, 2011

Finding your mind/body balance


Allow time for meditation or contemplation: Meditation is a fairly new concept for myself. For years, I have had excruciating stomach ulcers brought on by crazy high levels of stress, so it's a wonder I hadn't looked into meditation sooner. It is amazing just how fast you notice results in your stress levels. Just a few deep breaths and you're well on your way to quieting your mind. Too easy! 

Be mindful of the expectations you place upon yourself: In this crazy modern world of 9 to 5, take-away dinners and endless housework, where are we supposed to find the time to get everything done? The fact is, we don't have to. Some things can simply wait. Why must we wash our plates the moment we have finished using it? Let's wait an hour and do a few in the same hit. Prioritise the things which simply can't be avoided and above all, never be afraid to say 'no' because sometimes our bodies can mentally shut down from the expectations as I have discovered too many times to count. 

Create time to reflect on your daily choices: We all have 24 hours in a day, yet what we do with that time is completely individual. We live our lives the same way we live our days, so your choices form the type of person you are; the type of person you will be remembered for. Do your choices reflect the person you are on the inside? 

Drink plenty of water: This is one little mantra I can't seem to get into my head. I am trying however! Health folks say we are supposed to drink between 8 and 10 glasses of water a day, which equates to roughly 2 litres. In theory, that amount really isn't that hard to manage. C'mon people, we can do this! 

Evaluate your current commitments: Sometimes you just need to take a step backwards and ask yourself if your current commitments are worthy of the time and energy you are investing in them. Trust me, there is no shame in dropping out of something because the love is gone. I was a year into the TAFE course that would land me my childhood "dream" job, when I realised it wasn't for me. But that's what life is, finding what you like and what you don't. 

Follow a nutritious diet: As you probably already know, I made the commitment to veganism almost a year ago. This doesn't make me immediately healthy though! It's all about matching up your foods to get the most bang for your buck. For instance, a can of kidney beans can be added to your pasta sauce for added nutrients and will do you a world of good. It's about swapping your foods too. Swap fattier options like fried chips for oven-baked chips instead. There's a whole world of healthy options out there waiting for you. Enjoy! 

Identify the stressors in your life and try to reduce them: As we get older, it seems we find new things to worry about. At the ripe old age of 22 I have managed to discover a ton of things to stress over that didn't even exist to 17 year old Mel. We need to tune in to what i is that keeps us up at night and consider ways to reduce or eliminate the stress. Should we be safer with our investments? Plan a vacation? Take some down time? The trick is to find this out and try to take all necessary measures to bring yourself peace. 

Learn to listen to the inner message your body is giving you: Occasionally we all go through a patch of uncertainty where we are unsure if what we are doing is on par with what we had hoped to achieve in our lifetime. It is in times like these where we must take a breather and remember to simply respect when it is time to eat, slow down, rest or play. 

Maintain an attitude of realistic optimism: We can't all do everything, but we can all do something. 

Pursue activities that are pleasurable or you are passionate about: I have a sneaky little obsession with The Sims 3. I have no shame in telling this to the world, so when I need to just chill out, that's what I do. Life is finite so don't forget to actually live. When you feel like baking or watching a whole season of 'Supernatural' in one sitting, please do so. There is nothing worse than living a life you aren't enjoying. 

Read more: Reading is proven to widen our imagination. It also widens our vocabulary. When you pick up a book you can go anywhere, at any time; past, present or future. You can be anyone in any situation. It is the ultimate form of escapism. If you've been putting off that novel, I urge you to give it a chance, I promise you won't regret it. 

Reduce external stimulation: We all have things which get us either worked up or hyped up. Most people can't drink coffee before bed because the caffeine keeps them up counting sheep all night. Strangely, caffeine puts me to bed. I blame the warm liquid. Stress is my stimulation; that and strange noises. I had a ridiculously short temper so have found that exercise and meditation help me to reduce external stimulation and to just chill. 


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