General transcript to podcast, excerpt from Oddball the Resilience Guide
The Causes of Specific Pain and Stress
Sometimes it isn’t until you have a huge crisis that you realize how precious our bodies are. When you are in chronic distress and pain, you have no choice but to be aware of this physical vehicle that we live in—our body. The pain and stress scream, “Hey you, something is wrong, pay attention!” But we can be stubborn and simply ignore the discomfort until it becomes unbearable. By then, sometimes the damage may be irreversible. However, as fragile as our body can be, it is also incredibly resilient.
Our mind and spirit are not located in some other place. It is all one system. When I refer to the body, I am also including the mind and spirit. The pain we feel physically is also embedded minds and soul. We are also residing in a specific physical location at any given time—our environment. This section will primarily focus on your body, mind, and spirit. The next section will focus on place and space, especially in reference to home followed by the larger sense of space which includes the “outside” and social world. It is an artificial separation simply made to make this more doable and digestible. It all coalesces in life and the more in balance we are, the happier, more beautiful it can be despite all the challenges that come our way.
Decide As I said above, you start with an honest self-evaluation. Oddly, this is the biggest impediment for anyone contemplating taking better care of themselves. Someone may come to me and say “I want to reduce all the stress in my life.” Once the assessment begins, you can see what reasons excuses start popping up as resistance. The issue becomes, are you open enough to be willing to see your way through the “but’s” and practice flexibility. For instance, if you want to find quiet time to practice relaxation and feel you just don’t have the time, are you willing to consider that you do have the power, ability and strength to make changes big or small to create the time you deserve. Resistance as an obstacle is a real challenge to expect and be prepared to take on. We have been conditioned so long to feel guilty for “me” time or been disappointed with failure that it is easier to just not deal with the transition to self-care. You have the ability to change that script. Don’t use your job, kids, romantic partner, money as reasons to give up on yourself and your very important need for balance and joy. It’s not fair to you and most certainly not to the ones you love.
Choose Once you feel you are ready, then you make that very life-changing decision to take action. The next level of assessment is what parts of you, body, mind and spirit are screaming for care. It’s all of them, however, tackling one automatically eases the other areas of yourself and your environment. Act Nothing to get overwhelmed about because you are in control and can pull back at any time. You can start small if that helps or for others, they prefer the larger change model, like quitting smoking cold turkey. If you are the latter and that has worked for you in the past, great. If not, then make sure you have created a support system so that you can succeed this time around. That may mean make micro or bite-sized changes to start then as you progress take larger leaps toward your goals. The Body-Mind-Spirit System Our body is precious. It’s odd but sometimes people simply forget how precious it is. It is where you as a person reside, it houses our consciousness. The body requires certain things to continue to exist and not only exist but to function at its ideal level supporting us as a whole person. Yes, it can be resilient, but enough unbalance, neglect and abuse will lead to disease, and worse it can shut down completely. Too many people are unnecessarily going through long painful death by not caring for themselves consciously. It never escapes me that many people are born with congenital conditions and illnesses. Caring for yourself does not imply you’re doing something wrong. Quite the opposite, it signifies you can always do something to make your life better. I make every effort to keep in mind that many people don’t have the use of all their senses, sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. And even those who do may have limitations where their senses are affected, e.g., my sight is limited requiring me to use glasses and creative ways of seeing the world around me. Our bodies need a certain balance. Too hot, too cold, too extreme in any way and our bodies will tell us immediately something is out of whack. If it’s too hot, you sweat, if it’s too cold, you shiver, all to bring your body back to balance with its environment. It’s a smart system but it needs to work in conjunction with our mind and spirit for optimal functioning. Too many of us forget that with life’s everyday pressures and don't give enough attention to keeping our system balanced. It’s too easy to forget certain things for basic functioning. That’s because we often go on autopilot. It’s a convenient way for our brain to free space to do other things. However, things go wrong without some monitoring. It benefits us to go back to revisit basics before we are too ill to make changes. But we know that isn’t always going to happen so we do need reminders. We need a certain amount of hydration—water, clean air to breathe, nutrients via food, and rest as in restorative sleep and shelter to protect us from harsh environmental elements.
As an empath, I am sadly aware that millions of fellow human beings and animal companions don’t have these basics. Some are called to actively help them. Others help less directly but just as effectively by starting at the core, themselves—and work their way outward, to assist others. Furthermore, others simply don’t care and will continue to decline in overall wellbeing.
If you are fortunate enough to have the basic needs in life met, that is something to be aware and grateful for as a form of self-care. The next level is consciously and thoughtfully giving your body, mind and spirit (life force) what it needs to be healthy. This is what some people refer to as mindfulness. And this mindfulness can be part of every area of our lives.
Along the same lines, the term “clean” living is used and encouraged by the self-help community. That is because many of us are living in a technology-heavy, over-processed, genetically modified, electrified, electromagnetic-fied, litter polluted, noisy and dense society. We rush through life with all kinds of goals forgetting we are here now, not yesterday or tomorrow. Mindfulness gently brings us back to the present. So that glass of water our body needs becomes the most delicious liquid you are drinking.
But we can’t live on the basics alone. We crave fun, excitement, entertainment and learning new things. Mindfulness creates a subtle magic of gratitude and contentment for things that are basic, like breathing, and things that make us expand as humans. Mindfulness counteracts chronic stress, slows time and give our minds, body and spirit to recalibrate. I think that’s a worthy reason to engage in mindfulness. · Water/food/sleep · Hygiene · Grooming · Sex health · Body movement, posture, self-massage, use of health and medical devices · Drugs, supplements, topically added substances (soap/lotions/oils) · Life stages—Aging, self-image, life purpose/career/finances, empowerment, self-esteem, chronic stress, trauma (physical and emotional), PTSD, panic, depression, fear · Mental/emotional—Identifying and addressing mental and emotional problems and distress · Spiritual life and issues-belief systems, creative expression, dreams, soul travel, unexplained experiences.
How to Use Mindfulness to Reduce Stress and Be Present
Mindfulness is the cognitive ability to pay close attention to your feelings in the moment without judgment. It helps you to develop positivity in life by helping concentration in class, work, and even home. With the benefits of mindfulness now known in medical settings, perhaps you might want to learn how to practice this technique to relieve anxiety and stress. The techniques are easy to follow, and you do not need any special equipment; you just need to a few minutes.
Recent studies have revealed that mindfulness is a useful anti-depressant medication, relieving mounds of anxiety, stress, and depression. In one study, Lancet researchers sampled a group of 424 UK adults who were at high risk of experiencing depression. Half of the adults were put in a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy where they were guided through meditation and mindfulness methods while the other half was placed on medication for two years.
Then, the progress of each cluster was assessed. The study found that a similar number of individuals from both groups had relapsed. Experts explained that mindfulness provides long-term useful skills hence putting you in control of your life unlike relying on anti-depressants.
The following are ways to practice mindfulness:
Spend at least fifteen minutes in a quiet and open environment for meditation and yoga. Meditation helps you to bring your full awareness to both your emotional and physical sensations as you try various poses. These feelings will bring about relieving tension and even reduced pain in your body, helping you to relax.
Body scan meditation
Like yoga, this technique involves spending time in a secluded place, and sitting in a comfortable position without feeling disturbed. During the exercise, close your eyes and try to bring close attention to every part of your body starting from your toes, feet, ankles, calves, knees, hands and even up to your head.
During your mealtime, find a serene place where you will not be distracted. As you take your meals, try to eat slowly while you also engage your senses of taste, smell, sight, touch, and sound. Try to finish all your meal by chewing and swallowing slowly.
Mindful or conscious breathing is another great way to eliminate stress and tension. Take at least five minutes in a convenient location, like the shower or subway and shift your concentration to breathing in and out. To concentrate during the exercise, you can pick one aspect to focus on. Nothing else has the potential to boost your relaxation the way mindfulness can. Give it a try; you might be astonished what it can do for you.
How to Live in the Present Moment
Many people live in the future. Why? Most people have a future that doesn't mirror their present. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because Law of Attraction states, "...that which you give your attention to will manifest in your life." However, staying in the future means your present is passing you by. The following are some ways to help you live in the now and live a happy life without stress.
Don't Think About It Your goal is to stop thinking all the time. Go write down things that pop in your mind, this could be exams that are coming up or that visit to grandpa in a few weeks. Then cross off the ones that you are happy about. The first kiss with your lover can be a great memory that you might want to remind yourself of sometimes. Now you have a list of bad things you think about all the time.
Because you want to stop thinking about them simply make a pact with yourself to do something stupid each time your head wanders off to one of the subjects on your list. This can be shaking your head really hard or even do 3 push-ups. Warning: Be reasonable and always try to forget if it comes up again.
Do Yoga and Exercises
Doing daily exercising will get you in great shape and stops your head from wandering off. Don't say to yourself I can't exercise until I finished this, because that's exactly what you want to get rid of.
Avoid (too much) Daily Routine
We like to plan our days so that we don't hit any surprises. But there's nothing wrong with some variation or on-the-fly decisions. Donate a dollar to the collector in front of your grocery store. Smile randomly when you see a new store opening up or a beautiful tree. They're resources you can use for a very long time. You can visit the store to buy new things, and the tree will always be there for your viewing pleasure—and oxygen.
The Past and Future is a Reflection of the Present
The most important thing is to do good in the present. Great memories will bloom and future health and wealth can be created. With that in mind, it's only natural to be your best in the present. Really enjoy what you're doing. Writing or watching television; find the good things in your current activity. It's the only thing you should worry about.
If You Don't Like the Present, Change It
You can't change the past but you can change the future. And that's most important. If you're not happy with something in your life then change it. Want to be an architect? Go study architecture. Feeling lonely? Consider the various online resources to meet new people. The only thing that is important is that you are happy about the present. Only then your future is as bright as can be. Practice living in the now and know that by accessing the power of now, you can enjoy even more success than ever before.
Wishing You Wholeness