I’d tried all the other ways of being that I was taught and I wasn’t seeing the results and so I decided, ok, this screwy idea sounds…well… screwy but I might as well try being happy and focusing on inner peace and watching to see what happens. I had in the past just had emotions based on what was showing up in my life. If things were great and the sun was shining, then I’d have a big smile and if things were going to the dogs, then my mood would be too. This ground breaking idea of not letting the circumstances of your life be the reason you feel the way you feel just seemed crazy to me, but reading book after book by guru after guru saying the same thing encouraged me to at least give it a 30 day money back trial. That was many 30 days ago. And TBH there have been ups and downs on this journey. Every day is a new day with this and that leads me to step 2.
It’s just like anything else. I remember the Christmas when my baby (now 5 years old and in kindergarten) was learning how to creep. That little sweetie made me laugh so hard! He could only creep backwards. He was determined though, if he wanted to go get something, he would calculate its location in his little baby brain and then back his way towards it. I’m pretty sure that in 11 years when he goes for his driving test he will ace reversing! Anyway, he kept trying to go forward, and one day he got a little green talking dog stuffed toy named SCOUT. Scout had been programmed to say his name, it had flashing lights, and it could sing songs for him that included his name and all kinds of features that are catnip to babies. When he saw Scout for the first time, his desire to creep forward had never been greater, he had tried and tried, he had practiced, sometimes getting a few inches forward before moving backward again, but this time all his practice paid off: he moved forward all the way across the room, grabbed Scout (who promptly went into his mouth,) and he hasn’t looked back since.
I’m constantly sharing stories of my crazy kids and their shenanigans but I share this to say that reaching for inner peace during a crisis may not come easily, but we have this overwhelming desire to feel better when things are at their worst and so it’s probably the perfect time to practice. But how? You can practice emotions. True story! Let’s try this: close your eyes and think about something for which you are truly grateful. It could be hugs from your kids, amazing support staff or a lovely life partner. Whatever it is that is meaningful for you, close your eyes and focus in on the gratitude you feel. The object of your desire may not have been in the room with you while you visualized your gratitude, but that did not stop the warm feelings from flowing into you did it? We can do this with almost anything, it just takes knowing how, focus and practicing.
Let me just put on my physician and recovering researcher hat here for a minute to let you know that yes there is a change in your brain and body chemistry in response to all these things. I won’t bore you with the details, at least not in this article. Just look it up on PubMed though, I kid you not, these things affect how you feel, not just physically but also emotionally. So let’s make sure we are doing all we can to maintain our health in this time. Let’s lay off the quarantine snacks for a minute guys!
Now is the time to infuse our diets with healthy plant based foods, (great news, so far the produce aisles continue to be STOCKED, there is a run on TP but not on fresh veggies!) Let’s not skip meals even though we aren’t on our regular schedule. Let’s supplement our health with key nutrients. In times like these a quality multivitamin, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, a quality antioxidant, omega 3’s and probiotics, to name a few, can go a long way. Make sure we are getting quality sleep. With our schedules upended, we may be tempted to stay up late nights bingeing streaming TV, or reading or whatever. That is fine, just make sure you are getting enough quality uninterrupted sleep. In the colder months we can be tempted to let our hydration fall by the wayside. Don’t forget however, that we are about 70% water and we can’t run many of our repair reactions nor can we eliminate waste successfully without water. So drink up during this time. Try to get about ½ oz per pound of body weight - that is on average about 64 oz per day.
We might find that we have more time in our schedule for moving our bodies, so let’s do it. Exercise releases endorphins as well as dopamine and serotonin in some cases. These are all chemicals produced by our bodies that can help us feel better naturally. Doing some yoga, going for a walk in nature, joining a virtual group exercise class, going for a run or even lifting weights in the basement all count towards helping us feel better. And as for keeping the negative influences in life to the barest minimum, well, that’s just good sense. All that being said, if you suffer from not just situational depression, but clinical depression, incorporating these ideas as well as working with a professional counselor can be tremendously beneficial.
Most of us go to webinars, listen to talks, read articles and engage in all sorts of other self help activities, and at the end of the day we go back to living our lives as usual. What I have learned is that in order for us to truly move forward successfully, we need a container of support, and that is what we provide for each other, every day, at Ladies Power Lunch.
If you would like to have a group of like-minded supportive individuals for accountability, conversation and support, then I invite you to join us today, for FREE.