The Most Important Nutrient

The Most Important Nutrient

Breath is Life

The most important nutrient that we take in every minute of every day is air.  Breath is life.  You life begins with the first breath in and ends with your last breath out.  Without breath/air, you would cease to be alive in 3-4 minutes.  You can live for up to 3-4 months without food and up to a week without water, but you cannot even live 5 minutes without air.  

Breathing and Life Energy

In all ancient traditions, the breath and management of the breath was highly valued.  Ancient yogis knew the power of breath.  They created an entire science of breath called pranayama.  Prana means life force; Yama means control.  Their philosophy held that control of vital breath is the key to good physical health and calm, clear thinking. 

Modern research also shows that by slowing down and deepening our breath shifts us from the stress response to the relaxation response.  Slowing the breath down slows the heart, normalizes blood pressure, increases blood flow to the digestive system, deepens sleep, increases energy, focus, concentration, and memory

Breath as a Tool for Self Awareness

Practicing being aware of the breath for a few minutes each day is a wonderful tool for self awareness.   Simply by closing your eyes and watching your breath for a few minutes will begin to bring your awareness to your inner experience.  That creates balance in the body, mind and emotions. 

Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques have been developed for attaining peak performance, managing stress and improving overall health.  They are easy to master and have profound effects.  In just minutes a day, you can feel increased vitality, strength and peace.

Conscious movement of breath can be applied to achieve a state of relaxed vitality so that optimum health is reached and maintained.  The breath is one of the few body systems that is both voluntary and involuntary.   We can use the training of breath as a tool to achieve heightened energy and awareness and to resolve specific problems such as lowering blood pressure, stop smoking, and lower stress.

The Natural Breath

Have you ever watched a sleeping baby?  Its little tummy moves outward easily and fully as it breaths in air.  This is how we all breathed as a child, fully and deeply.  A full deep breath will bring in as much as 2 quarts of air with each breath, which includes energy, oxygen and other nutrients for the body. 

For a minute place your hands on your belly and inhale slowly, and deeply letting your abdomen expand like a balloon.  Let the abdomen fall as you exhale slowly; you are releasing old stale air.  Inhale easily; feel your abdomen expand again.  Press the air out as you contract, as you pull your abdomen in while exhaling.   How do you feel?

Awareness Practice

This week, take 5 minutes each day to practice the Natural Breath.  Somply place your hands on your abdomen and expand the belly like a balloon and then release the breath.  How do you feel after breathing into the abdomen? What do you notice? Is it difficult or hard to breath deeply? Do any emotions come up? Are you wondering if you are doing it right? Does your mind get quiet or not? Take some time to reflect on or journal about your experience.  

Share your experience or questions if you would like.  I am here to support you.  

May you enjoy the benefits of full breathing,  💕Bindu

Acknowledging Positive Changes

Acknowledging Positive Changes

Part of rebuilding our health is making different choices.

These choices can include dietary changes, exercise, in how you think, how you feel, the hours you work, making time for self-care and others.  This might feel overwhelming and undoable, but if done in the right way, it is very possible.

Making lifestyle changes is a journey, not an event.

The journey can be fun and easy if we choose to make it that way.  It is not about perfection.  Don’t feel like you have to make all of the changes today or tomorrow.  Taking small steps each week will make the journey easy and you will be amazed at the results you achieve over time.

Let go of the notion that you need to deprive yourself.

Bring your focus to what you can eat and what you can do . . . not what you have to give up.  Implementing changes doesn’t have to be hard work.  It is important to implement healthy choices at a pace that works for you and doesn’t cause undue stress.  

Self acceptance is an important part of the journey.

Changes made from a place of self acceptance are more powerful and longer lasting than changes made from self judgment.  For example, attempting to avoid sweets because you think you are unattractive because you are overweight is different from choosing healthy foods because they make you feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.  Read these statements a few times and notice how you feel inside as you read each one.

  • I am choosing to eat a healthy food because I feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.
  • I am avoiding sweets because I am unattractive and overweight.

Which one will motivate you more?  Which one makes you feel more positive and uplifted?

 

Acknowledge the positive changes you have made and the results of those changes.

Say you have simply chosen to eat a healthy breakfast 2 days a week.  Acknowledge that and also acknowledge how you feel on the days that you eat the healthy breakfast.  Whatever you focus on is what will grow.  By acknowledging the positive change you have made and the positive impact that has on you, it will grow.  Grumbling about what you haven’t done only leads to discouragement and ultimately will sabotage your progress.

Keep your focus on the journey with all the baby steps you are taking along with your ultimate vision of yourself as a happy, healthy fulfilled person and you will achieve your vision.

Use the following introspection to acknowledge the changes you have made:

  1. List all the changes you have made to rebuild your health.
  2. Make a list of the positive changes you have noticed in your health, happiness and wellness.
  3. Make some positive affirmations out of the lists your have just made.
  4. Notice how each affirmation makes you FEEL; only keep the ones that make you feel good.
  5. Write the affirmations on index cards.
  6. Post the index cards where you will see them . . . on your refrigerator . . . your bathroom mirror . . . or another place where you will see them on a regular basis.
  7. Read the affirmation on a regular basis and as you do so, imagine breathing the feeling of the affirmation into your body. 

Use this introspection to bring a positive focus to the areas where you are challenged?

It is also important to notice areas where you are criticizing yourself and diffuse the self criticism.  Otherwise it could subconsciously undermine your progress.

  1. Notice if there are areas where you are criticizing yourself for not doing as well as you think you should be doing. If so, write these down.
  2. Reflect on your expectations and notice if they are realistic or not.
  3. If your expectations are not realistic, feel free to change them:
    • Break down your expectations in this area into baby steps.
    • Set new more realistic goals
  4. Find a way to focus on this area of challenge in a positive way.
  5. If you feel inclined, share with a supportive friend or with this group. 

Ask for support when you need it.  Sometimes we will feel stuck when trying to implement changes.  At those times, ask for assistance in identifying and moving beyond whatever is blocking your progress.  You don’t have to do it alone.  Support is available. 

Self Reflection and Rebuilding Your Health

Self Reflection and Rebuilding Your Health

Self reflection is an important tool in the journey of rebuilding your health. 

Self-Reflection is a way to empower yourself to make your own decisions, based on knowledge, awareness, compassion and accessing your inner knowing.  Self Inquiry can be used to develop awareness, compassion, self-confidence and self love. 

The process of self-reflection is a powerful way to get to know yourself.  To become aware of your inner world of thought, emotions, beliefs, values, judgments, joys, fears, and much more.  It is an opportunity to meet yourself with compassion and caring.  By using self-reflection, you can become your own best friend.   You live with yourself 24/7.  No one on this planet can ever know you as deeply as you know yourself.  No one can ever love you as deeply as you can love yourself. 

Are you looking for love? 

The first place is to look within.  When you meet parts of yourself that you judge or push away, is an opportunity to embrace the part of yourself with compassion and acceptance.  By doing that, you will be giving yourself what you want and need most . . .  to be heard, seen and loved.  When you become your own champion, criticism from outside cannot harm you.  You will begin to draw to you love as a reflection of your own self-love.  

Developing self love reduces the stress that you feel every day.  Hidden judgments and self criticism create stress in the body.  This is an important hidden stressor that can keep your nervous system in a state of alert and alarm.  By developing self love, your nervous system can calm down return to balance. Anxiety and depression can be released; rest and sleep can be resorted.  

Self reflection can be done in many ways. 

Some people like to journal; some prefer silent contemplation and others deepen their own awareness through dialogue with a conscious listening partner.  Some people draw or use art, while others use music.  You can experiment with these techniques to see what works for you.  The most common is journaling and silent contemplation.

Self reflection through journaling. 

To experiment with journaling, get yourself a spiral notebook or, if you prefer, a nice journal.  Set aside some time each day where you will be undisturbed.  It can be as little as 15 minutes or as much as 30 minutes or longer.  Sit quietly for a few minutes and slow down and deepen your breath.  You can begin with a question or just write down whatever comes into your mind.  If you begin with a question, write down the question and then just jot down anything that comes to mind as you consider the question.  Do not hamper or edit the flow of your thoughts by throwing out anything, just write down whatever comes to mind.  Sometimes the most insightful and wisest thoughts are those that we might dismiss and being unimportant or silly or irrelevant.  Treasure each and every thought.  After a while of writing, you can go back through what you have written to see the treasures your consciousness has unveiled. 

Self Reflection through silent contemplation. 

This is my personal favorite.  You can begin by setting aside some time each day and finding a place where you will be undisturbed.  Sit quietly and slow down and deepen your breath.  In this method, you simply sit and watch the flow of your thoughts.  If you like, you can ask a question for direction and notice what thoughts come up.  You can deepen the inquiry by inquiring into the thoughts that come up.  Notice if you are judging the thoughts that come up.  If so, endeavor to let the judgments go and simply observe.  In this way, you are getting to know your inner self a bit more each day and by letting go of judgments, you are developing self acceptance and love. 

Self reflection through conscious dialogue with a partner. 

Conscious dialogue with a partner is also very effective.  In this technique, it is important that both parties are committed and aware of the process we are engaging in.  Find quiet place and a time where you will be undisturbed.  Slow down and deepen the breath.  Each person will take a turn sharing.  It is important that the listener not interrupt, share personal stories, or give advice.  Their role is simply to listen and if requested to feed back to the speaker what is being heard.  You can set a timer so that each person has a set amount of time to speak or be more free flowing. 

Enjoying the benefits of self reflection.  

You can use any of the methods above or devise one of your own.  You will find a wealth of knowledge and wisdom within through self reflection.  If you need help embracing yourself and would like assistance to discover the true beauty of who you are, reach out.  I am an expert in helping people to discover and embrace their inner beauty. 

May you know and love yourself,  Bindu

 

PS.  Stay tuned for my upcoming workshop.

Right Use of Positive Thinking

Right Use of Positive Thinking

  • Do you struggle with negative thinking?
  • Does the invitation to think positively seem like a hopeless endeavor?
  • Does positive thinking become another thing that you just can’t do right?

Tips on how to use positive thinking in a helpful way.   

Shortly after the movies “What the Bleep Do We Know” and “The Secret” came out, I was in the worst phase of my experience with fibromyalgia.  I was inundated with negative thoughts, feelings, fatigue and pain.

 

It isn’t helpful to use positive thinking against yourself.

It was around that time, that positive thinking was becoming popular.  It was said that my thinking created my illness.  People would use that against me in regard to having fibromyalgia.  Like somehow it was my thoughts that created it.  I felt blamed and criticized for having fibromyalgia.  That wasn’t the truth.  I could not think my way out of having fibromyalgia.  It had a power of its own, beyond the power of my mind.

 

You can’t make negative thinking go away with positive thinking.

There were times when my mind was very negative, and I would try to think positively.  But I just couldn’t do it.  It often became a war within myself that was very stressful, and I would judge myself for being so negative.  I found that by surrendering to negative episodes, having a pity party, and comforting myself, would help the negativity to pass more quickly.

And yet, it was too painful to allow the negative thinking and feelings to completely take me over.  I would read inspiring things and practice being kind to myself and balance my negative thinking with positive thinking.

 

The real power of positive thinking is to balance the negative thoughts.

I think balance is the real power of positive thinking.  Positive thoughts may never replace all the negative thoughts that come into our mind, but it can help to balance the negative thoughts with a positive perspective.  I had a teacher that said that positive thinking balances the negative thinking and leads to stillness of the mind.  That made sense to me.  I began to notice if I was obsessing negatively about something, if I would focus on something positive, it would lessen and sometimes neutralize the negative runaway train that I was on.  At other times, I had to surrender to the negative thoughts knowing that it would pass.

 

Use Self Inquiry

Sometimes it is helpful to understand where the negative thoughts are coming from.  Perhaps a parent, teacher or sibling said something negative about you. At the time, you adopted that thought as true.  You can now reevaluate that choice and ask yourself if you truly want to believe that about yourself.  You can choose what you believe.  You can chose to think positively about yourself and let go of the negative beliefs that you adopted as a child.

 

Be more aware of your thoughts.

Creating the intention to think positively also helps us to become more aware of our thoughts and . . . especially our negative thoughts.  That can be painful.  Especially when we just want the negative thoughts to stop.  It has been said that our negative thoughts and feelings are simply our old conditioning coming out.  By becoming more aware of our negative thoughts, we have a greater choice in how we think.   The negative thoughts might come up, but you have the choice as to whether or not to believe them.  To not believe them might feel difficult at first, but over time it becomes easier.  By just acknowledging them, they lose power over you.  

Think of a glass filled with water right up to the top.  The water represents the negative thoughts stored in your ‘data base’.  Then you drop a pebble, which represents a positive thought, in the glass and a negative thought spills out.  As you drop in each pebble/positive thought another negative thought/water spills out.  Eventually the positive thoughts outweigh the negative thoughts.

 

Choose your positive thoughts consciously. 

When practicing positive thinking it helps to consciously choose positive thoughts that feel true to you.  You might not be able to go from thinking that you don’t like yourself to I love myself in one fell swoop.  But you could each day, make a list of 1 thing that you like about yourself, one thing that you did really well, and one thing that you appreciate about someone else.  If you practice that each day, you will be adding weight to the positive side and feel good in the process.  It will also teach your mind to look for the good.  Which might be a new healthy habit!

 

In Summary

Don’t use positive thinking as a weapon against yourself.  But use it as a tool, to help balance the negative experiences, feelings and thoughts.  Use it as a way to rescript your old beliefs into new beliefs.  Always be compassionate with yourself and understand it is a process, not an event.  In that way, it can become a tool for growth and evolution.

 

Suggested contemplation for this week. 

  1. Watch your mind this week.
  2. What is the percentage of negative thoughts vs positive thoughts?
  3. Notice if you are judging yourself for your negative thoughts.
  4. Find some positive quotes or sayings that help you to feel uplifted. Read them a few times each day.
  5. Each night think of one thing that you appreciate about yourself, one thing that you did well during the day and one thing that you appreciate about someone else.
  6. Practice self-compassion for being human and learning a new skill.
  7. Notice if this helps balance the negative thoughts without going to war with them.
  8. Share your questions and experiences with this if you like.

 

May you find balance and inner stillness, 💗Bindu

5 Mindset Tips to Enhance Your Health

5 Mindset Tips to Enhance Your Health

The mind is a powerful tool.

It can assist with the process of rebuilding your health . . . or it can get in the way. I believe that the reason I have made so much progress in rebuilding my health is my mindset.  It pulled me through when the body couldn’t.  It also allowed me to keep believing that I could be healthy.

Below are 5 mindsets that will enhance your ability to rebuild your health.

1.  Never give up!

I really get that if you have been ill for a long time, you might doubt if you can really rebuild your health.  It is widely publicized that there is no cure for fibromyalgia by the medical community.  You have plenty of ‘evidence’ that says you will not be healthy again.  At best, you can mitigate symptoms and learn to live with it.

In my struggle to rebuild my health, I went through various phases.  I denied it.  I fought it.  I surrendered to it.  I was angry at it.  I gave up.  But then, a very wise person suggested to me some information about a supplement that was known to help fibromyalgia.  I tried it and got good results . . . temporarily.   But what I learned from that was there is always new information available.  That is one thing doesn’t work, there is always something else to try.

At that point, I made up my mind that I would always keep trying to rebuild my health.  After all, what else did I have to do.  I knew that if I didn’t keep trying, I would only get worse.  But If I kept trying, there might just be something out there that would work.

From that point on, I held the intention that I could rebuild my health.  I could be healthy again.  That made all the difference.  From that point on, my health did improve.  And continues to do so.

2.  Be grateful for the baby steps.

Sometimes, we can get so focused on one symptom that we miss the 5 others that have changed or improved.  It is important to pay attention to your symptoms and be grateful for the small baby steps. 

Perhaps you feel more relaxed.  That may be a huge step for you, but someone on the outside might not notice it.  Perhaps you feel better when you wake in the morning.  Perhaps, you don’t react as strongly to something that triggers a reaction in you.  Notice these small changes and know that they are signs that health is rebuilding itself from the inside out.

What I have noticed, is that sometimes a symptom has gone away, and I completely forget about it.  I can be so focused on what hasn’t shifted, that I completely ignore what has shifted.

I have a symptom inventory list that I provide for my clients.  Take an inventory of your symptoms and the intensity of them.  Periodically check back in with your list to see what has improved. What has gotten worse, if any.  What has gone away.  This helps you to have an objective view of where you are and what progress you have made.  You might surprise yourself.

If you notice a symptom getting worse, then some detective work is called for.  Perhaps you need to change your protocol.  Perhaps you are in a healing response or retracing experience.  A healing response is when a symptom temporarily gets worse as it is healing.  Retracing is when an old symptom reappears as the body is healing on a deeper level.

3.  Put yourself first.

Most of us with Fibromyalgia are caring people.  We want our family and friends to be cared for.  Sometimes we put their needs ahead of our own.  We push ourselves beyond what we can do to take care of others.

I call this the Eveready Bunny Syndrome.  We think we are like the Eveready Bunny who just keeps on going.  Unfortunately, even the Eveready Bunny’s batteries run out.  When those batteries run out you just cannot keep on going.

You must include yourself among those you love.  If you have fibromyalgia, chances are your battery has run out or is very low.  If you do not take care of yourself first, you will have nothing to give anyone else.  As your health improves, it will be important to watch this.  I know as my health improved and my energy started to come back, I was so excited, that I would push myself too hard and have a relapse.  Take care.  Be aware.  Make the choice to respect your body’s limitations and get the rest that you need.

4.  Have compassion.

Fibromyalgia is a difficult illness.  It is difficult for you and it is difficult for your loved ones.  You may be experiencing difficulties just getting through the day.  You may not be able to do all the things that you would love to do for yourself and your loved ones.  Your loved ones may find it difficult to see you struggling, to watch you pain.  Out of their love for you, they might say or do things that don’t work for you.

Compassion is the action of accepting and understanding the struggle that comes with fibromyalgia.  It is forgiving yourself for not being able to do all that you want to do.  It is forgiving your family members when they don’t understand how you feel and why you are so limited.  It is empathy and understanding.

One of the greatest gifts that I received from having fibromyalgia is compassion.  I grew to have compassion for myself as I struggled with this illness.  I grew to have compassion for my family as they struggled to understand and cope with what I was going through. 

Before I had fibromyalgia, I was a pusher.  I pushed myself and I pushed others.  Now, I listen to my body, my heart, others, and my soul and make choices from a place of love and compassion.

5.  Trust that everything is working for your highest good.

How can having fibromyalgia be a good thing?  This one can be a toughie.  During my worst years with fibromyalgia, I struggled a lot with it.  As one point, I adopted the possibility that there was a gift in what I was experiencing.  That having fibromyalgia was a wake-up call.  That it wasn’t a punishment.  I hadn’t done anything wrong.  I wasn’t bad.  It wasn’t my fault.

I took a good hard look at how having fibromyalgia was changing me and how I viewed myself and the world.  How it was changing the trajectory of my life.  How it changed my relationships with others.  How it changed my choices. 

I would have been in a very different place in my life if I hadn’t had fibromyalgia.  I am not sure I would have been any happier than I am now.  Probably not.  I probably would have more money and a different job.  I am pretty sure those things wouldn’t have given me the satisfaction and fulfillment that I experience now.  My values changed for the better.

I believe fibromyalgia can be a wake-up call to put your thoughts, emotions, and actions in alignment with a higher power.  In alignment with LOVE, peace and joy.

Yes, it is a rude awakening.  Perhaps it feels like you have been hit by a semi-truck full force.   But for me in rebuilding my health, I found a much better path than the one I was on.  A path that has brought me closer to myself, God, others and the world around me.  For that, I am absolutely grateful.

Contemplation for the week:

Embracing even one of these mindset suggestions, can pave the way for the others.  These shifts in mindset, can provide a more positive outlook on a devastating illness.  They can help you shift out of a victim mentality to feeling more empowered and in control of your life. 

For me, these mindset shifts made all the difference in the world.  They helped me to keep my head above water in challenging times and moving forward in unraveling my experience with fibromyalgia and rebuilding my health, reclaiming my life, rediscovering my joy and aligning with my purpose.

Self Reflection

Reflect on your current attitude about having fibromyalgia and consider the mindset suggestions above.  Notice if there are one or more that you would like to adopt.  Experiment with them.

 

May your mind be your ally in good times and bad, 💕Bindu