As promised in PART 1, I bring you the rest of the tips and tools that can help you find your “happy place” and most importantly “stay in your happy place mindset.”
But before we begin, let me ask you this: How are you doing? How are you keeping up with everything that’s going on around you? We are experiencing unprecedented times as COVID19 remains at the forefront of daily life. The kids are out of school, non-essential businesses have now closed including restaurants, gymnasiums and yoga studios.
As a child, whenever I got scared, upset or intimidated by the bullies at school, I’d lose my center. At times like that, my father would come to me with a poem, the same poem every time. It has since become a part of who I am. It’s the wisdom within the words that helps me find the way back to my “happy place” when the going gets tough.
And it went something like this…
If you can keep your head when all around you
….are losing theirs,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it…
Excerpt from the poem If, by Rudyard Kipling.
This was the poem my grandfather recited to my father when he was growing up. My father believed in the power of these words. Such wisdom kept him going through the war as a young soldier in Greece, through life as a race-driver, a business-man, a father, a man. No matter what was going on in his life, these were the words that kept him moving forward. To this day, the same goes for me. I draw strength from the words of this poem.
How about you? What is your anchor? What is the wisdom that helps you steer clear in tough times? If you look into your heart, you will find it there.
Now, let’s look at the tools that help us be who we truly are. In PART1 we talked about Sleep and Relaxation. Here’s what comes next.
Remedy #3 Nutrition
One of the most important factors in how you handle stress each day is your levels of cortisol fighting vitamins and nutrients. While there are supplements that help your levels of hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine, the easiest way to keep your stress levels in check is by maintaining a proper diet. Get most of your calories from vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. –What a great time to start a mini-veggie-garden!
Remedy #4 Exercise
Being physically active helps maintain a healthy body weight and ensures that your heart and other systems remain healthy. For some of us going to the gym is temporarily not an option and that’s ok. With the right attitude, you can adopt a brand-new fitness regimen. Keep it simple and make it fun.
I spoke to my friend John yesterday, an avid gym-goer, who is now super excited going on his 5-mile bike ride every day. “It broke the routine,” he said, “exercising outdoors makes me happier.” Cool beans! What’s cool about that is that traffic is close to none which makes riding even more fun. You see… there’s always a seed of goodness within any adversity. You just have to look for it.
Remedy #5 Maintain a Positive Mindset
Next, I’d like to share three powerful tools that can help you alleviate stress and strengthen your immune system. Here they are:
Tool #1: Meditation
Let’s get one thing clear about meditation. You don’t have to be a yogi master to reap the benefits of meditation. If you already are a meditator you are enjoying the benefits. If you are a beginner, just don’t say “no” to meditation before you try it. Meditation is a simple practice that helps you find peace and mental clarity. It is a practice that uses repetition, focus and redirection.
Here are four easy steps for mindful meditation to get you started today:
1) Find a quiet place.
2) Sit comfortably.
3) Close your eyes.
4) Focus on your breathing
You are now meditating. Notice when your mind starts to wander. It will and that’s ok, don’t be hard on yourself. When it does, gently guide it back and refocus on your breathing once more. Stay with it and that’s it.
How does it get any simpler than this? Well, here’s where it gets tricky. The challenge lies in your discipline to make meditation a habit. If you truly want to start feeling peaceful and relaxed, you will make it happen.
This might help…
THE FACTS: Stress robs you of happiness and satisfaction while meditation heals your spirit and comforts your mind. Your immune system rewards you, too.
YOUR DECISION: What will you choose?
MY SUGGESTION: Start with 5-min. today. Meditate every day at the same time. You’ll be glad you did.
Tool #2: Patience
In the words of Joyce Meyer, patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. And according to Aristotle, patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
Need I say more? When I lived in London, I was impressed by Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister at the time. Some of her words that have stayed within my mind are…I am very patient, as long as I am getting what I want.
Patience is a learned behavior. Cultivating patience is something that takes time, and ironically, also requires a great deal of patience. This tolerance can be in terms of waiting for something we greatly desire, manage negative feelings during difficult times or even maintain composure when feeling rattled by the behavior of others. There are many practices you can implement to increase patience. In this post, I will share the one that’s most appropriate with our current events.
Mental Imagery. We are visual beings; our mind sees pictures of thoughts and words. If I told you, don’t think of a red fire truck, what are you seeing in your mind’s eye right now? Got it?
Visualization is a process in which you see with your mind’s eye your ideal outcome. Simply said, you look at the future instead of the present. With all the anxiety and confusion around these days, clarity is of the essence. How do you get clarity? Know what you want.
Imagine for a moment. What is your favorite outcome of COVID19? What do you want to see happening? In 2-3 months from today how do you want life to be? What pictures do you see in your mind’s eye? Feel and sense your vision.
Practicing visualization can help you gain clarity, increase your patience and unleash your potential. Professional athletes have used variations on this strategy to improve their performance. As with meditation, this practice also helps you with focusing, and lowering stress.
Tool #3: Gratitude
When you shift your state of mind to gratitude there is no room for fear nor anxiety. Have you noticed that? Try this. Think of a thought of gratitude. For example, “Thank you for the safety of this moment.” Take a breath, how does it feel to be in gratitude state? Sweet, right?
You see the problem is that most people habitually think of what they don’t have, instead of what they already have. The shift here is to come out of the mindset of lack and switch to the mindset of abundance. Have questions? Send me a line if you need help with this concept. I know in the beginning it can feel a little strange. Writing down things you are grateful for also helps.
Well, this was the last of the tools that when put to work, will not only keep you afloat any unpleasant current events but will also help you thrive.
Moving forward: Switch your happy on
Life can be so much fun when we shift our perspectives. Turn social distancing, voluntary isolation or home alone, into opportunities for relaxation and self-development. When was the last time you had time for yourself? Make the most of the downtime. Turn it to playtime. Create something amazing.
What makes you happy? Read, journal, learn, knit, dance, listen to great music, write a poem, stargaze, meditate, try a new recipe, have a picnic in your backyard. Tap into the creative part of you and find the simple things that make you happy and keep you healthy.
We’ve come to the end. Thank you, for taking this journey with me. We’ve covered a lot of ground. Eat healthily, adopt the attitude of gratitude, meditate daily, improve your sleep patterns, are some of the things we talked about. I trust by now you have picked up a few of the practical tools, I shared with you, to help you shift your mindset and boost your immune system.
Taking good care of you can be the stress Rx you need to help you deal with COVID19. And before you know it this threat too, will soon be history.
Bye for now. Wear your smile and be well.
If you have any questions on anything I mentioned in this article, reach out for a complimentary conversation. Simply click on the red button just below.
If you missed PART 1 here’s that link again: