It is difficult to believe that it is nearly mid-August already, and back-to-school sales have popped up everywhere. I’ve even seen Halloween and various harvest decorations in several stores. This, combined with our national and political situation may be causing some (or many) or you some angst and perhaps even anxiety. Anxiety is a very common reason for people to seek my assistance via acupuncture. Fortunately, acupuncture works very well to alleviate anxiety over time. I know that some of you reading this are nodding right along with me now.
The question becomes, what else besides acupuncture, can you do on a regular basis to cultivate inner peace and thus your own health and wellness?
FOCUS ON BREATHING
Breath is life. In times of stress and anxiety, we often breathe improperly and even hold our breath. Abdominal breathing, that is, drawing a deep inhalation in through your nose, expanding your abdomen and then releasing the breath gently through your slightly open mouth to the count of 10 is a good practice to assist you with this. Those of you familiar with yoga may be familiar with this type of breathing. Sometimes a gentle reminder is needed to retrain the body and calm the mind. Practice this daily.
APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE
It is so easy to focus on what you need to accomplish in a day, a week, a month or a year or what you don’t have that you think you need. Yes, I said “think”. Sometimes the things we think we need to be happy are just mere perceptions of our minds that have thought only one way. There are many ways. Which will you choose? Whether you are a parent, a student, single, retired, ill, a caregiver or just unsure of your path in life, there is always something to be grateful for. Reflect on who you have in your life that you are grateful for each day, and what you have that you are grateful for. Do this daily, and I can tell you, you will be amazed at the many blessings that surround you.
CONTROL THE CAFFEINE AND SUGAR
Watch your caffeine consumption if you are feeling unsettled or anxious. This includes coffee, tea and soda, if you drink it. And avoid all processed sugar which is an automatic energy zapper. If you must have your coffee (which I admit I can relate to), limit the amount and don’t drink it after the morning hours. Focus on caffeine-free herbal teas instead. Ginger root also offers a nice energy boost and can be made into tea or added to it.
TAKE TIME FOR REST AND SLEEP
Many work long hours, some by choice, some, especially parents, out of necessity. While work is important and needed, rest and sleep is critical to health and wellness. Without, the mind and body cannot function properly. Lack of sleep has been linked to higher rates of cardiovascular disease and stroke as well as other illnesses. Power down your electronics and set a text-free time in the evening so that your mind has time to relax before sleep. If you are able to take a mid-afternoon rest, schedule this when possible. The European countries that participate in afternoon siesta are more productive and healthier because of it.
NOURISH YOUR SPIRIT
Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs are, take time daily to nourish this aspect of your health. Your body, mind and spirit are intertwined and inseparable. Anything you do to feed your spirit benefits your overall health and wellness. In fact, the human spirit will often triumph over tremendous physical suffering. Why is this? There is a collective spirit that touches all of us, as we are all intertwined in this world. This is why helping others also helps you. Helping is good for your health!
The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu and author of the Tao Te Ching, describes achieving peace best with the following quote:
“If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.”
― Lao Tzu
Until we meet again, I wish you health, wellness and peace in your heart, your home and your world.