Tuesday, July 26, 2016

It's Time to Celebrate YOU! 6 Ways to Make Your Life Better by Celebrating the Awesomeness of You!

It is pretty easy to get lost in the "my life sucks" mindset.  Not only is the brain wired to pay attention to what it is that sucks, but we have a bit of cultural preference for this.  First off, the brain is evolutionarily set up for survival and paying attention to stressors and challenges is part of it's job.  So, unfortunately, it is pretty good at it.  No worries!  The brain can be retrained!  Secondly, our cultural penchant is for the downer Debbie, complainer, gossiper, and caller out of all things negative.  Those that are viewed as wearing rose colored glasses or as too positively Polyanna-like are dismissed and seen as less respectable.

Good mental health, however, needs some celebration.  I am not talking about birthdays and holidays, but EVERYDAYS!  Celebrate your mind, body and spirit on a daily basis and you will find yourself enjoying life.

1)  Cognitive Behavior Therapy:  Every time I suggest the cognitive exercise using rubber bands on the wrists, people are prepared to snap themselves when negative thoughts arise. That is NOT the kind of exercise I propose.  In fact, it does not even need to be rubber bands.  You can wear a watch or a bracelet as well.  Start with the band on the right arm and every time you have a feeling that deserves celebrating take in a full breath, smile, switch the band to the other arm and acknowledge the feeling.  Here’s an example:  I was driving on a very busy 6 lane road.  I saw a woman with bright red shorts and shirt at the bus stop moving and grooving to whatever she had playing in her headphones – just like no one was watching, clearly enjoying herself.  I couldn’t help but smile.  I caught that smile, took in a big breath, carefully switched over the band to the other wrist (safety first), and thought “people are so awesome!”  All the steps in this simple practice get your brain tuned in to these celebratory moments – the movement, the breath, the smile and the thought.

2)  Power Pose:  I love the way crescent lunge makes me feel like I am strong and grounded and yet reaching up with great joy to the sky. 
Hold the pose for 5 breaths and feel the power and joy expand!

3)  Relaxation:
   Do a facial massage before beginning relaxation today.  It takes about 5 minutes and feels great!  Use the technique described here:  http://www.wikihow.com/Give-Yourself-a-Facial-Massage  Then, do the triangle breath described below for 7-10 rounds.  Then, beginning from your toes upward through your body, notice if you are holding any tension, wiggle around, move and release the tension.  Now, your body is relaxed.  Settle in for a minute or 5 minutes with a gentle smile on your face to enjoy and celebrate being relaxed!

4)  Meditate:
   Begin with the triangle breath described below for a couple rounds.  Think of aspects of your physical body you feel good about and celebrate each of them.  Think of aspects of your mind and your feelings that you enjoy
and celebrate those.  Finally, think of aspects of spirit you can celebrate.  The thoughts bring in a feeling.  Keep the feeling in your body, mind, and heart and allow every cell to soak it in.  Stay as long as you can.  The more you practice this, the better your mind and body get at the creating and connecting to the feeling – what fires together, wires together!

5)  Breathe:  The triangle breath has, you guessed it, 3 parts -the inhale, a retention (hold), and exhale.  The length of each is up to you, but it is recommended to begin with 4,7,8.  Let Andrew Weil show you how:  http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/VDR00160/Dr-Weils-Breathing-Exercises-4-7-8-Breath.html

6)  Chant:  Our chant, Jai-Ma! Means to acknowledge and give gratitude!  It is pronounced Ji-yah-mah.  The literal interpretation is to give thanks to the mother.  I invoke this chant as a way to thank Spirit (whatever that is to you, within or without or both) and to call the Spirit up to remove all obstacles in the way of being truly grateful and celebratory toward this life!

Are you practicing every day yet?  The more you practice, the easier good mental health gets.  You don't need to do all 6 every day, but regularly and as often as possible.  If you need guidance, contact me:  circleofstoneswellness.com

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