Sometimes I can get down in the dumps. I'm human. I used to believe that there was something wrong with me for feeling blue or sad. I believed that 'thinking positive thoughts' would get me out of any funk or keep me from dwelling on the past or the future. That way of thinking doesn't always work for me. Sometimes I have to take some deeper action. Sometimes thinking positive thoughts can glaze over the information that my body is telling me through these feelings.
What are feelings telling us?
Usually they're telling me that I need to nurture myself in some way. When I take certain actions these feelings can transform, freeing me to make better choices that help me find balance. In this way feelings become a way our body communicates with us. Do we need to eat, exercise, call a friend, or take a walk?
As I said in part one: "Self Care for the Body", the body, mind and spirit are indivisibly intertwined. A balanced body makes a balanced mind and a balanced mind will have you make better decisions for a healthy body. Try some of these actions to keep your mind clear from heaviness and worry!
Affirmations are a sure fire way to start breaking those patterns of negative, self-defeating thoughts. One effective and powerful affirmation that I like to use is to simply say to myself "I Love You, I Love You, I Love You". I do this as many times as it takes to shift a negative thinking pattern, or to keep myself open. Try it anywhere or anytime throughout your day. Say it under your breath while working or walking!
I find that whenever I'm in a state of gratitude I cannot be in a state of fear. One affirmation practice that really helps me when I'm feeling alone or disconnected is to do what I like to call the"Web of Gratitude". It's very simple: hold the first person that you think of in your mind's eye for a moment. Then say their name and thank them three times. Try to be really present with your intention and really mean it when you thank them.
It goes something like this: "(Jane Smith) thank you for being (such a good friend or lesson or for your kindness...) Thank you Jane. Thank you Jane so much!" After this allow another person to pop into your mind, perhaps someone that (Jane) reminds you of, and repeat for as long as necessary to shift your mood. If you have a resentment toward someone then try it anyway. We learn more from our struggles with each other than we do from our easy relationships. Try thanking them for what you've learned about yourself through that struggle. These situations show me where I'm fearful, where I am judging or where I'm expecting a situation to be certain way.
Try writing your own affirmations and to make them personal to you. There are some great resources out there that will get you started. I find Louise Hay's website to be very helpful.
If there's one thing that is the bridge between the body, the mind and the spirit it would be meditation. There a so many ways to meditate and so many meditation practices. One simple way that I like to meditate is through my breath. I first find a comfortable spot, either seated or laying down. Give this a try!
Feel the cool air come in your nose, flow through your nasal passage ways, filling your lungs. During your exhalation feel that warm air flow from your lungs, up your nasal passage ways and out your nose. Notice any tension that your holding onto and send your breath into the tension. When you exhale allow that tension to release. If any thoughts come up try to detach from them. Notice these thoughts like clouds in the sky. Try this for as long or as short as you like. Any amount of meditation will be better than none. Allow yourself to do a little bit everyday and see what that does for your mood. Sometimes information comes up during a meditation session, so be prepared with a journal and a pen to note your thoughts.
When I'm in my creative process, the worries of the world all but disappear. It's how I process my experiences. When I don't have enough creativity in my life I get really cranky. It gives me an outlet and a forum to express my ideas and it can be a helpful way to connect with others. I go through fazes. Sometimes an idea comes up and I have to write it down. It could be an idea for a song or a cartoon or a painting. Every couple of years I like to give myself a "30 day creative challenge". A couple of years I've done a "cartoon challenge" where I create a cartoon and post it on a social media site every day for 30 days. I've done the same thing with music: composing, recording and posting an instrumental tune everyday for 30 days. I was amazed at how much improvement I made in a short period of time from these challenges. The first week was always the most difficult. After that the ideas started flowing in and coming out. The biggest challenge with the creative process is the inner critic. It's important that this critic be disregarded for the first part of the creative process. This critic will come in handy for the editing portion of the process, but make sure it's not involved with the creative brainstorming portion.
Does your creativity feel stuck? A writer friend gave me a great exercise for writer's block. Give this a try: Give a form to your block. What does your block look like? What does it smell like, feel like ect? Try drawing it or painting it or describing it. This might be the thing to dislodge your block!
What tools/techniques do you use in your life for self care for your mind? Please share in the comments!