Category Archives: wellness

Eggshells, Loving-Kindness, and Observettes

Eggshells

It recently dawned on me that any time I have felt like I was walking on eggshells, I was actually the one that had put them there. Has that been true for you too?

Looking back, I now realize I had put those imaginary eggshells there because I had a fear of speaking my truth. But not anymore . . . I now have the intention to communicate in a loving, kind, and timely manner—even when it’s difficult. It is my intention to speak directly to the person (rather than text or email). And here’s the important part; I need to let go of the result.

Going back to the eggshells for a moment, sometimes those eggshells may be there to protect us from harm. Sometimes we intuitively know that it may not be safe for us to speak our truth to someone who may not be able to access his or her own highest and best self. In this case, I encourage you to seek professional support for handling this situation and creating empowering ways to stay safe, grounded, and to not feel like a victim.

At other times, those eggshells might appear when we are afraid to speak the truth (with loving-kindness and respect) to a boss, co-worker, friend, or family member who we think holds power over us. Okay, so you may not want to lose your job or your inheritance, but do you want to be treated poorly? We teach people how to treat us. If there are patterns of behavior that have created well-worn (rather than wellness-worn) paths, consider changing the destination on your GPS. In other words, if you’re walking on eggshells, you might want to walk down a different path.

I’ve also been consciously observing negative energy or situations and realizing that I can either absorb it (which feels awful) or pause and lovingly and without judgment, simply observe it all. Oh, the observing feels so much better! My good friend, Donna, would call that being an “observette.” Would you rather absorb it or observe it? Do you want pain? Or do you want peace?

Tate’s Tips for Becoming a Loving Observette

1. Observe, rather than absorb stressful feelings and situations.

2. Speak the truth with kindness, clarity, and compassion.

3. Let go of the result.

4. Teach people how to treat you.

5. Seek support when dealing with someone who is capable of

inflicting physical harm.

 

Note: I wrote this article a few years ago but was compelled to share it again now. In the past few months I have heard more people expressing sadness and discomfort about feeling it was never a good time to say what was really on their minds. I still have feelings like this, although I find it to be less and less as the years pass. These five steps above have been a good guide for me. Wishing you peace.

 

 

 

 

My Prayer for You

My Prayer for You

 

The spiritual component of wellness is highly individual, as each of us can choose to know God (or whatever you call the Divine) and create our spiritual practice through the lens of our own religious, spiritual, and cultural beliefs.  May this prayer bring you peace and gentleness today.

 


My Prayer for You

May you see the infinite possibilities that exist with each sunrise.

May you make wise choices that nourish your mind, body, and spirit.

May you allow your soul the freedom to express who you really are.

May you allow yourself to love greatly and be greatly loved.

May you know that good self-care ultimately supports all those around you.

May you discover peace-filled solutions in the opportunities of conflict.

May you allow yourself time to grieve.

May you use your gifts and talents to create a better world.

May you listen to others with ears of compassion.

May you forgive yourself and others for any behaviors or beliefs that have caused pain.

May you feel God’s presence in every cell of your body.

May you be filled with gratitude for your daily blessings.

And so it is.

Please visit my
Susan Tate Community Facebook Page
32x32-Circle-84-FBI thought I’d add a short excerpt from the last section of the “Know God”
chapter of my Wellness Wisdom book.

Steps to Take If You Want to Get to Know God Better

1.  Create quiet time each day. You can start by taking just one minute before you get out of bed. Then gradually add to this precious ritual or practice as you begin your day. Some people like to light a candle, read from a holy text, play spiritual music, or just quietly breathe. Pick something that works for you. Treasure and protect that time. Quiet time for some may come, if only briefly, after you fall into bed after a long day. Breathe. Open your heart. Listen. God’s there.

2.  Explore places where you feel closest to God and hang out there when you can. Examples include but are not limited to: churches, synagogues, mosques, chapels, temples, beaches, forests, mountains, with your family, or in your garden.

3.  Take time to talk with God. And then, take time to listen to God. You’ll love the results. Praying doesn’t change God—it changes us.

4.  Remember that what you focus on expands. So, focusing on God can provide a greater awareness of the Divine in your daily life. This doesn’t mean you need to become a monk or priestess! It just means that the more you look for good and God, the more you’ll discover both.

5.  What, if any, rituals or prayers from your childhood hold special meaning for you? Add or create a new practice if you like. Enjoy reading the next chapter (“Pray and Meditate”) for more ideas.

Wellness Wisdom by Susan TateBuy Into the Mouths of Babes on Amazon

 

 

Practice Peace

Practice Peace

ARE YOU READY FOR MORE PEACE TO ENTER YOUR HEART AND LIFE?

It seems like a good time to share an excerpt from the “Practice Peace” chapter in my Wellness Wisdom book to offer you a generous helping of nourishing peace.

Peace begins at home, home within the center of each of us. Our peaceful state of mind can then be extended to our family, friends, community, and the world. It can even be extended to people who don’t believe as we do. If we each take steps to promote this harmony, we could eventually see peace reach epidemic proportions.

It is often easy to condemn groups of people who are at war with each other. We may shake our heads wondering why “they” can’t live in peace. But are we living in peace? Are we at peace with ourselves? People creating terror hold a grudge against people who do not think like they do. Do we harbor grudges against family, former partners, coworkers, or neighbors? I believe if each of us takes the steps necessary to truly practice peace “at home,” within our bodies and souls, then it will be easier to sustain a peace consciousness throughout our entire planet.

EVERY DAY, YOU CAN CHOOSE TO CREATE PEACE
WITHIN YOUR OWN HEART.

When listening to the radio or watching the evening news, you can take deep breaths and a moment to pray for peace. You might even choose to create a ritual of peace-thinking in your daily life. For example, every time you stop at a red light, it could be a signal to think peace and be peace. I love the peace bumpers stickers I see when I’m driving too. And I giggle out loud every time I see the one that says, “Envision Whirled Peas”!

I invite you to join me in mindfully taking time to pray for peace, within ourselves first and then throughout the world. Whether you walk through the doorway of your own home or through the metal doorway in airport security, dare to be the carrier of peace.

peace doveP E A C E

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is
no noise, trouble, or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things
and still be calm in your heart.”  ~Unknown

PRACTICE PEACE

When we practice peace in all parts of our daily life, we could actually begin to upset the condition of conflict and turmoil in the world. Practice peace. Think peace. Be peace. Touch peace. It’s communicable.

OVER TO YOU

What one thing will you do today to create more peace in your heart and mind? Feel free to leave your comments on my Susan Tate Community Facebook Page.


Posted July 21, 2015

©2000 – 2018 Susan Tate

Making the Four Agreements Your Energy Allies

the.four_.agreements.ruiz_

I was introduced to Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, in 1999 at my very first Nia intensive training. In Nia, we are encouraged to use these agreements as “Energy Allies,” not only our practice–but in our daily lives.* They have worked so well for me over the years so I thought I would share them here for you! And, oh yes, I actually think there are FIVE agreements — you’ll find I’ve added one.

*The day I posted this (6/29/15) I received a lovely email response to this piece from Nia co-creator, Debbie Rosas. She reminded me that these agreements spring from the ancient wisdom of shamans. She wrote, “The origin of these came to Carlos and I before the book was written. They are ancient made modern.” Thank you, Debbie, for wrapping Nia in the sacred cloak of these principles! They have added so much peace to my life.

The Four Agreements (+1!)

1.  Be Impeccable with Your Word

Your word is powerful and sacred. Impeccable is defined as “in accordance with the highest standards of propriety; faultless.” I think of this concept as being honest, kind, and succinct way to speak. Choosing to be impeccable with your word is a mindful choice.

Think and speak loving words. I understand this agreement includes our self-talk and how we keep the agreements we make with ourselves. My self-talk no longer includes things like, “Oh, Susan, you are so stupid!” My body/mind would hear that and respond accordingly!

What part of your professional or personal life would be energized if you decided to shine more light on the power and impeccability of your words? See the resource section below for Tate’s 10 Tips for Being Impeccable With the Word.

2.  Don’t Take Anything Personally

Release any sense of self-pity or self-importance. Somewhere I heard that an unexpected “NO” to a request might result in NO = New Opportunity. Ruiz says, “Nothing other people do is because of YOU. It is because of themselves.”  Oh, how I have found this to be true! Clearly, sometimes it’s quite a challenge to not take something personally. In the times I have found myself starting to feel hurt or offended by someone’s words or actions,  I have been able to shift the painful energy immediately into peace if I am aware enough to remember this agreement. It’s such a choice, but we have to remember to make it!

3. Make No Assumptions

Making assumptions, especially if you assume the worst, can sometimes dim your light and deplete your energy. If you can note and then minimize your inner dialogue you will probably feel better.

Honoring this agreement helped me to stop making up unsettling stories about what people might be thinking about me or something I did. Years ago, after I shared a concern about “what will people think?” to one of my dear friends, her pragmatic and loving reply stopped me in my tracks.  “Susan, people don’t really think about you that much!”  I laughed so hard and felt such relief!

Can you recall the last time you made an assumption and spent all that time in your head and it wasn’t fun at all? Next time you can make up a better story!   

4. Always Do Your Best

Do the best you can at the time with what you have to work with.  A year from now, your best will look different than today, and that’s okay! Lovingly observe yourself to assess whether you are doing your best. In Nia we call this the “Loving Witness.” My friend calls it being an “Observette!”

Trust yourself and take action.

Changes that are forced into being
are always temporary.
But changes that are loved into being are permanent.

~Louise Hay

5.  Be the Place Where Love Shows Up

This is the agreement I added to Ruiz’s list and I must admit, it’s my favorite. This energy ally is the connective tissue that holds a sacred container for all the others.

When your actions are motivated by love,
your energy multiplies and accumulates.
~Deepak Chopra

Amen to that, Deepak! Now doesn’t that make you want to be the place where love shows up?

In your work life, love what you do as you provide any kind of service. I have met people who cleaned the floors where I worked who offered a loving light and kindness while they pushed the mop. They might appear to be from the maintenance department, but to me, they were sparks of love making our work place look and feel more beautiful.

One of the best quotes I’ve ever read about love (I have shared this at the wedding ceremonies I have been honored to officiate) sums up this fifth agreement:

LOVE
You are not meant to search for it,
You are not meant to wait for it,
You are meant to generate it.
~Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith

Whatever task is ours to do at the time, we can choose to do it with loving kindness and service. When in doubt, ask: What would love do now?

Thank you for creating time to read this post. I’d love to hear how these energy allies light up your life!

 

RESOURCE LINKS

Tate’s 10 Tips for Being Impeccable With the Word

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

 

 

 

 

 

The book I didn’t write in 1985

As many of you know, my first book, Into the Mouths of Babes, was published in 1984. But it seems a year later I had another book in mind.

IMG_0908My daughter recently came across this piece of yellow construction paper with a list I wrote in 1985 of 14 things I could do every day to find good health and keep it. (We still can’t figure out how it ended up in her treasure box of memorabilia.) As you can see, the first line reads: The – I Want to get Healthy Book by Susan Firkaly, (my former name). I chuckled when I read the list since so many of the things I wrote then have become part of the wellness work I have been sharing for the past 45 years!

For those of you who didn’t know me in the 80s—I was a 30-something mother of two children, teaching high school full time, and generally knocking myself out attempting to take care of my family. Although we were vegetarians, I could have metaphorically been described as one of those women who could “bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, ever let you forget you’re a man!” (A jingle from an old perfume commercial showing a super competent take-charge woman who represented the feminist “superwoman” of the time.)

In my picture of myself as a modern mother of my generation, I was probably wearing a Wonder Woman cape. Well, underneath the cape was a woman with a constant flow of stress-related illnesses. I had colds, sinus infections, the flu every year, a stomach ulcer, IBS, anemia, and had tubal ligation surgery in 1983 that almost killed me when the doctor hit an artery.

On top of all of that, I had a series of whacky accidents. I totaled my car a half-mile from our house on December 24. No, it wasn’t icy; I just went off the one part of the beautiful country road–actually actually attempting to avoid an accident–and hit a cement culvert rather than just dirt. It caused my car to flip over, smashing it as it landed sideways across the two lane Virginia road. I had a serious neck injury and minor bruises. Angels were with me, truly, and I shall take this opportunity to remind everyone “seat belts save lives!” And, oh yes, you might want to know I was on my way to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed.

Then there was the time I slipped on some soda that someone spilled on aisle 12 of the supermarket and I ended up with torn ligaments in my right knee and had to have knee surgery to repair the damage. (I sometimes told people it was a skiing accident since sliding down the aisle in the grocery store wasn’t nearly as fun to say.)

In the early 90s I began working at the University of Virginia. But the Wonder Woman cape offered no protection from several years of uterine problems. I ended up having a hysterectomy—the surgery complicated by a blood clot in my lung.

That was the old me.

So you can see, I was not the vibrantly healthy and happy dancing woman you know today! Why am I sharing this now? Because I don’t want any of you to attempt to take care of everyone else but yourself—the way I did then. The only way I felt I could get taken care of was through illnesses and accidents. It was TOTALLY subconscious.

Feeling in a rather reflective mood lately, I just wanted to let you know my wellness path had quite a few twists and turns (think knee twisting and a car turning over) and your path may have had–or be having–some bumps too.

The list I made in 1985 was a pretty wise one! In fact, I just realized that although I didn’t write that book back then, much of it was poured into my fourth book, Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit (2007, 2009).

So, here’s the list of the 14 things I wrote on the yellow construction paper on January 26, 1985 along with my comments from today in italics.

1. Think positive ~ I still do this but would add a note of how important it is to also honor the painful feelings first and then letting them go and THEN thinking positive. I used to skip that other part—and the pain had to go somewhere–for me, it got stuck in my uterus . . .)

2. Meditate and pray ~ Today I would move this to number 1.

3. Eat well ~ But of course.

4. Take iron

5. B-complex

6. C

7. Multi-vit    ~  4 – 7 cracked me up, as I am the vitamin taking (and selling) queen! Nine years ago I wisely partnered with a top-rated global nutrition company, USANA Health Sciences, and now I share these supplements with those who are a good match for them. I am a good match—as my last 9 years have been my healthiest years ever!

8. Sit ups  ~ I haven’t done sit ups in years! But I “play” with my abdominal and core muscles all the time through my Nia practice. It’s much more fun than sit ups.

9. Aerobic dance ~ Now, Nia friends, doesn’t this just make you smile?  In 1997 I discovered the joyful, somatic, and yes, aerobic, dance/fitness practice of The Nia Technique. Nia has been a vital part of my vibrant health and in-shape-not-sore-anywhere-strong-65-year old body!

10. Drink juice instead of Coke ~ Yes, I was a Coke (Coca-Cola!) addict for 2 decades! Yikes! It was my drink of choice. I loved the caffeine, I loved the sugar, I drank more than you could every imagine me drinking. Then, one day, on my way back from Portland after attending my Nia Blue Belt Intensive Training, I just stopped. And today, I advocate water instead of juice—there’s just too much sugar in the juice. I enjoy eating the whole fruit (with the fiber still in tact and no added sugars) instead.

11. Do Kegals ~ Oh, yes, and so many other pelvic floor strengthening exercises too!

12.  Read ~ I know I put that on that list because I was only reading non-fiction, professional research-based books and articles at the time. Now I also, finally, read purely for pleasure.

13.  Write ~ Doing that, loving writing, will stop only when I’m dead.

14.  Think healthy  ~ Oh, the research on this one is another book in itself! (I recommend any books or YouTube videos by Bruce Lipton or Mario Martinez on this topic.) Our beliefs control our health way more than our genes do!

BACK TO YOU: What’s on your list? Is there anything you’d like to put on your list to add to your self-care and expanded wellness? I’d love to hear from you–you can leave a reply below.

I’d also love to support your wellness path through coaching or through answering your questions about what vitamins you might want to take.

Email me to schedule a telephone coaching session: susan@susantate.org

Possible topics:

nourishment/nutrition*
stress reduction
relationships
life transitions
sexuality
business/career planning

* I offer a 15-minute FREE phone consult
if you want guidance on selecting vitamins.

 Here are just a few of the possible side effects you can expect:

More inner peace
Overwhelming episodes of gratitude
Expanded reverence for yourself and others
An overall sense of joyful well-being

Email me to schedule: susan@susantate.org

 

 

 

 

In Body, In Spirit

InBody2IN BODY, IN SPIRIT  

awaken with joy
live in the present
create peace
love without fear
keep sexuality sacred
radically trust
practice forgiveness
honor your body
dance with joy
pray
be generous
care for the children
bless your parents
speak the truth with kindness
live with integrity
respect differences
laugh
delight in learning
note the awesome
revel in gratitude

I wrote this poem in 2004 and just discovered again and felt compelled to share with you now. The photo is one I took last August while I was awaiting the birth of my granddaughter in Austria. It’s a spectacular and sacred view of Mondsee Lake.32x32-Circle-84-FBimages 32x32-Circle-84-TW

8 (Free) Wellness Video Resources for You

Here is a sampling of my favorite wellness videos and meditations. I wanted to share some of the exciting research and offerings that are emerging in the areas of science and spirit. Just click on the titles you find appealing and enjoy!

For the past five years I have become fascinated by the study of epigenetics–the concept (now scientifically proven) that our genes DO NOT predict our destiny. You’ll also be able to tap into (did I really write that?) a few tapping videos (Emotional Freedom Techniques) that can be so supportive in healing the subconscious thoughts that often rule our everyday actions. If you haven’t experienced this technique yet, Nick and Jessica Ortner provide a loving introduction.

The first video on the list is a profoundly powerful “letting go of old stuff” meditation by Tosha Silver. No need to watch it, just listen to the 10-minute audio when you want to experience some sweet peace.

You’ll note that I put the length of the video by the title, so you can decide when to sit back and how long of a wellness break you’d like to take to enjoy this information and inspiration. You will know what to watch and when.

Healing Meditation for Letting Things Go (9:45) 
Tosha Silver’s 10-minute meditation (Very healing and tenderly powerful–I have listened to this over 20 times.)

Tapping Meditation for Financial Anxiety & Overwhelm with Jessica Ortner (15:58)
This one made me cry big the first time–okay, and maybe the second time too!

email-quoteBruce Lipton, Ph.D.  A very powerful video from the 2011 Tapping World Summit (34:22)
Dr. Bruce Lipton, is an internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit. I love his work (and I have a crush on this man’s brain!!!). I have read all of his best-selling books: The Biology of Belief, Spontaneous Evolution, and The Honeymoon Effect.

Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. Epigenetics: The science of Human Empowerment (42:40)
If you want to go deeper into looking at epigenetics, (our DNA is not our destiny–our thoughts and beliefs override our genes . . . ) you will enjoy this presentation. “Our health is not controlled by genetics,” states Dr. Lipton.

Dr. Christiane Northrup on Graceful Aging – Interviewed by Jessica Ortner (39:19)
In this interview, Dr. Northrup talks about aging gracefully, how tapping reduces cortisol levels to create weight loss, and trusting the sacred processes of our bodies. To watch the video, you will need to provide your first name and email address.

Louise Hay on Tapping – Interviewed by Nick Ortner  (19:52)
If you respect the work of Louise Hay, you will love this very touching video. One of my favorite lines is when she says, “In order to clean your house you have to see the dirt first!”

Embodying The Four Immeasurables with Dr. Mario Martinez
(almost 2 hours but worth every second)
This is such a healing body of work. He adds to the research of epigentics with his studies on what he calls “cultural portals.” It seems our cultural beliefs are far more powerful than our biology. If you have old, deep childhood wounds that need some healing salve, this may be helpful.

Ho'oponoponobutton
Ho’oponopono Forgiveness Meditation (7:01)

If you have any forgiveness work to do . . . the resources and video on this page may be of tender support.

 

7 Ways I Spread Wellness

You may have heard me mention that wellness is communicable! As each day passes, I am even more excited to share my work in its many forms. Recently, I became aware that some of you may not know all the things I offer. Please let me know how I can serve you!Well-2

1. Nia – I have been teaching Nia since 1999 and it has been a source of healing for me and so many others. READ MORE

2. Wellness coaching – I LOVE supporting people via phone coaching or in-person sessions. READ MORE

3. Vitamins – Did you know I sell vitamins? Yes, I do and they have been such a huge support for my health and the health of my clients over the past nine years. I am proud to partner with USANA Health Sciences, a 22 year old global wellness company backed in science and steeped in integrity. Need help sorting out all those vitamins on your shelf? Contact me. READ MORE

4. Nutrition advising – You must know how much I love nourishing the body, mind, and spirit. READ MORE

5. Books and articles – My high school English teacher would be proud. I have written eight different editions of health and wellness-related books. READ MORE

6. Business mentoring – This isn’t for everyone but you’ll know if you want to work with me after reading this. I am currently seeking four qualified people. READ MORE 

7. Wedding officiant – I “do” weddings! I’ve been a wedding officiant since 2004 and love the sacred honor of holding the space for couples to marry each other. I hold the space for them to do this in profound love. Check out the photos here! READ MORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on turning 65

THOUGHTS ON TURNING 65
or
Things I know now that I wish I had known then . . .
HB2meI love being 65.
Here are 20 things I know now that I didn’t know then.
I’m still learning–so there could be another 20 things coming soon.

1. I am whole and complete and deserving of all good. So are you. What a relief.

2. I am responsible for my own happiness.

3. Self-care is a gift I give myself and it supports me in being able to support others, if that is my task to do.

4. I am not waiting anymore–for anything, or anyone.

5. Love is a profound and sacred force.

6. Gratitude is a powerful prayer.

7. I never let anyone silence me; that is, I will not “contain myself”!

8. My parents were perfect for me; and my children and grandchildren are my greatest teachers.

9. If I want peace in the world, it must begin with me.

10. I make my decisions based on love, not fear.

11. I would rather be happy than right. (For years I chose being right over being happy.  Geez . . . what was I thinking?)

12. I no longer care what other people think of me. (Learned this a few years ago when I was concerned about that a dear friend kindly said, “Susan, people don’t really think about you that much!”

13. I no longer absorb pain from those around me. Rather than absorb, I observe. I hold a space of healing and love when it feels right to do so.

14. I live in the present moment. (Okay, not ALL the time . . . but that’s the plan!)

15. Money is not the root of all evil. I can’t help others by being poor. Money can be spent and shared with generosity.

16. I have given up judging other people. We are all doing the best we can with what we have to work with at the moment.

17. The most important thing I’ve learned about forgiveness is that it is not for the other person. Forgiveness is for me, when I’m ready. I often have asked myself, “Do I want to heal it or hang on to it?”

18. I love aging. Each morning when I wake up, I think: “I get to live another day!” How cool is that?

19. Dancing feeds my soul. I love my Nia practice, my students, and my teachers.

20. I nourish my body with healthy food; my mind with joyful and expansive thoughts; and spiritually, I align with the Divine. And sometimes I forget, and that’s okay.

What are you learning as life offers itself to you? I’d love to hear!

 

Photo credit: Roberta Nelson

 

Tate’s 10 Tips to Reduce Stress and Enhance Relaxation

Tate’s 10 Tips to Reduce Stress and Enhance Relaxation
humming bird:flowers
Excerpt from chapter 16 “Revel in Relaxation” from
Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit
by Susan Tate

1. Awaken with ease

Does your alarm clock jolt you from the serenity of sleep? Harsh buzzing noises can ignite the fight or flight response, secreting cortisol into your bloodstream—not a good way to start your day. Cortisol is a chemical often referred to as the “stress hormone” since it is involved in the response to stress. It increases blood pressure, raises blood sugar levels, and has an immunosuppressive action.

One way to reduce stress from the moment you wake up is to choose a pleasing alarm clock. There are many alarm options these days, including clocks that can awaken you with music, sunrise simulators, nature sounds, aromatherapy, or my new favorite, a Zen-like gong. On the days when I need to rise at a specific time, I now awaken to a digitally reproduced recording of a Tibetan gong bowl. It’s delightful! I was so excited to hear it that for the first week I kept waking up long before it was set to go off. For me, this peaceful sound generates a sacred feeling to the start of the day.

If you intentionally create a reasonable bedtime and plug in just a bit of extra time in the morning, you have the opportunity to start your day with ease. If you awaken to a baby’s cry, children squealing, or if you are the caregiver of another family member, it may be all you can do to take a deep breath before bolting out of bed. When possible, take a few gentle breaths before allowing your feet to gently step into your day.

2. Meditate and/or pray

Plugging in five minutes of quiet meditation or prayer right after you awaken has the ability to profoundly affect the direction of your day. Fifteen minutes is even better, but starting with five minutes will create amazing results. You can do this before getting out of bed or find a place where you can sit quietly without being disturbed. If other family members require your attention at this time of day, set aside some time during the day when you can just pause. It’s cheaper than a latte and can be deeply satisfying. (Or you can totally enjoy your morning coffee as a meditation dessert!)

3. Eat a nourishing breakfast

It’s so easy to grab the first “meal” of the day on the run or even wait until mid-morning to gulp down a muffin while you stand by the kitchen sink or sit in front of your computer. There’s a reason breakfast is known to be the most important meal of the day. It breaks the “fast” from dinner and is absolutely crucial in providing essential nutrients for your day. If you don’t eat breakfast, that cortisol kicks in and your body thinks it’s starving. Then, when you do eat at lunch time, your stomach still isn’t ready to digest your food because the cortisol is supporting your stressful fight or flight mode by preparing the body to be chased by a bear (or a grumpy boss). So, your lunch just hangs out in your stomach for an extra amount of time and eventually creates extra pounds around your middle, causing more stress. We don’t let our car get to empty before we re-fuel. It’s equally important to keep our body’s fuel supply steady for our best running condition and to reduce stress.

4. Take high quality supplements

Supporting our cells with vitamins and minerals is crucial these days. The American Medical Association (AMA), previously saying little about the need for vitamins, now encourages daily vitamin supplementation. (Learn more from the 2002 Journal of the American Medical Association resource listed in the bibliography.) When we nourish our cells at the most basic level, we give our bodies the opportunity to thrive, increase our ability to handle the daily stressors of life, help to prevent degenerative disease, and control damage produced by free radicals.

5. Be in the present

I cover this topic in Chapter 29, but if you don’t get to it today, here’s the gem: the present really is a gift you give yourself. When we let the concerns of the past or fears of the future enter into this precious second, we create stress. Stop. Breathe in. Breathe out. Be.

6. Provide service

When we provide service to others, we also support ourselves. Being of service is a real stress-buster if we are doing things we love, in a passionate way and without expectation of return. I have a little Post-it note on my computer that says, “What do you have for me to do today God? How can I be of service?” It is a guide for each conversation and each task I assume.

Engaging in providing service doesn’t mean I “help” people, because that would put me on a higher plane and others below me. Rather, I offer service from a realization of oneness, as a fellow human traveler offering the best of who I am at this moment. It doesn’t mean giving unsolicited advice or telling people how they can make their life better when they didn’t ask you. It may simply mean listening—being fully present—to what someone is saying. Service may mean sharing your music, art, or other talents with others. It may mean volunteering or working in a soup kitchen. It may mean working as a grocery clerk and offering a kind word to someone whose nasty behavior indicates he is having a really bad day. (I have heard that the amount of pain a person inflicts on others is directly proportional to the amount of pain that person feels within himself.) It may mean being all that you are, in whatever work you do, so that you can make a difference in this world. Provide service, release stress!

7. Seek pleasure

Be a pleasure-seeking arrow, always on the lookout for a great, joyful target. Awaken with pleasure, work with pleasure, love with pleasure, pray with pleasure, provide service with pleasure, work out with pleasure, eat with pleasure, breathe with pleasure. Or, you could concentrate on searching for things that aggravate you or cause tension and stress. It’s your choice.

8. Breathe

Taking three breaths before you begin to eat is quite a quick entry into a more relaxed state. It relaxes the digestive system, so you can better receive the food you are feeding your body. Are you feeling tense when stuck in traffic? Come back home to your breath. Breathing in—and breathing out. Getting ready for an important meeting or potentially challenging conversation? Breathe. Our breath is such a treasure if we choose to simply call upon it with mindfulness and awareness.

9. Tell the people you love that you love them

We can do this in person, on the phone, in e-mail, on Facebook, or by sending a silent message to a special heart. Be sure to be unattached to any expectation of reciprocation, as that can add stress rather than dispel it. Love is a vital nutrient that can gently melt away the stressors that sometimes surround us. Don’t forget to send some loving messages to yourself too.

And out of the mouths of babes: “You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” (Jessica, age 8)

10. Be grateful

Calling attention to gratitude is a magical tool for reveling in relaxation. When we call to mind the people and things we are grateful for, we may discover that the dramas of life are temporarily placed aside, the loneliness is put on hold, the fear dissipates, and our focus rests on extraordinarily simple pleasures. As you’ll read in Chapter 31, nighttime is a great time to bless the day with thoughts of gratitude. Or don’t wait until bedtime; feel free to take a moment and think of just one thing you are grateful for right now.

We all relax in different ways. You can listen to music, read, watch movies, walk, garden, feed the birds, sew, work in the garage, or create art. Pick your way and plug it into your daily life whenever possible. Relaxation is a wonderful way to enhance your wellness wisdom.

Thank you for reading this excerpt from chapter 16 “Revel in Relaxation” from Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit by Susan Tate.

Wellness Wisdom by Susan Tate

 

Return to HOME page.