Why is it when someone mentions the word “change” many people instintively shudder and run the other way? We are creatures of habit, with the concept of routine and order engrained in us from birth on. Routine can be good to establish order and reduce chaos and anxiety, however routine and repetition can lead, at times, to boredom, plateaus and stagnation (if that is a word- the state of being stagnant?) It is at these times that change is necessary and beneficial. Change is a part of growth and evolution. I challenge you and encourage you to embrace change, even a small one, in the areas of Mind, Body and Spirit.
MIND: Your mind or brain control emotions, stress and awareness. Here are a few ideas for change in this area.
– Take 10-15 minutes a day to practice deep breathing and meditation. This can include sitting in a quiet place, lying down, going for a walk outside, or even taking a yoga class. You can find meditative and Yoga practices on www.yogajournal.com. Just do something to trigger your “Relaxation Response” which a Harvard study at Mass General refers to as a decrease in heart rate, increased muscle relaxation, slower breathing, and a decrease (in a good way) in metabolism (to aid digestion and body homeostasis).
– Simplify your life. Check out 8 simple ways to Simplify your Life at www.health.com/healthgallery/0,,205525. We lead such fast paced, stressful lives, that sometimes simplifying it will improve our quality of life. Simplify by either delegating tasks and finding help, (cleaning person, dog walker, laundry etc.) Or, sometimes we need to cut out or remove things that drain us or do not fullfill us. Mainly, SLOW DOWN!
– Be more Mindful. Mindfullness is another word for awareness, with a focus on you and how you react and interact with the world around you. This is a big area of study currently. It is being brought into schools and sports to help children cope with increased academic and social pressure and stress. I just finished a great book by Goldie Hawn called “10 Mind Minutes”. She has a foundation, the Hawn Foundation www.thehawnfoundation.com, that has a program for schools called MIND Up. To learn more about how to practice mindfullness you can go to www.allconscidering.com/2009-10-mindfulness-exercises.
BODY: We can change our body through nutrition and exercise. GO GREEN. Get outside to exercise as often as you can to breath in fresh air. Try a bootcamp (like Butterfly Family Wellness), join a running / walking / cycling or hiking club. Need to be indoors? Try doing a High Intensity Interval Workout like a Tabata or circuit training workout. Go Green with your diet and decrease your carbon footprint by eating closer to the earth and more home cooked meals. Not confident in your cooking? Take a cooking workshop like Butterfly Family Wellness’ or a cooking class locally. Consume local produce and local, humanely caught and raised animal products. Eat fish with low mercury levels. Go to www.fishwatch.noaa.gov.
– Buy organic produce, especially if it is on the “Dirty Dozen” list. Buy produce from US whenever possible and avoid produce from South America and Mexico (unless you want to take the Hepatitis A shots MD’s are giving out because of the “dirty” produce grown there).
– Here are some other helpful websites: Need school lunch help- www.lunchboxblues.com, Green eating http://bonappetite.com/magazine/2009/02, www.nrdc.org/health/food, overall kids health ideas- www.BAM.gov
SPIRIT: Make some goals for yourself and your health. Come up with a plan, maybe enlist some help from professionals, and get support from peers and familyto help you implement your plan and stick to it. There is nothing like achieving your goals to help feed your spirit!
Remember, change is not a bad word… it is a chance to grow and evolve into a healthier, happier you!