Essential Ingredients for Wellness – June 28 , 2021
WELLNESS – the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving.
I guess I can now say that the silver lining of this past year is my new quest for wellness .
Back in early 2020, pre-COVID days, if you had asked me if I believed that I was “well”, my answer would definitely have been a solid yes . I used to run to a power yoga class at lunch and sipped on green juices every now and again, time permitting. I was caught up in my work, totally oblivious to how off kilter I was!
For the past 25 plus years I have been travelling at the speed of light and up until lately , my lifestyle was a far cry from “balanced “ . It’s not that I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing but I did not understand the importance of self – care . I honestly had no clue what it truly means to take care of yourself and how essential it is ! For years I have definitely been in survival mode and today I am ready to thrive !
Forced to stop , sit back and smell the coffee , I am slowly transitioning into a new lifestyle and way of being . I am very cognizant of how fortunate I am to be able to take the time to explore the concept of wellness and what that means for me . To say that I am grateful for this time in my life would be an understatement and the word that best describes how I’m feeling these past few weeks is blissful .
Wellness can mean different things for people and there is not one size fits all .
Over the next few months I will share different ingredients that are working for me personally .
I recently watched a Ted Talk by Dr Habib Sadeghi shared at a Long Hauler Support Workshop facilitated by fellow long hauler Rebecca Maynard.
In his talk, Sadeghi refers to “self containment“. I am slowly beginning to understand that there are so many things that we can do for ourselves to alleviate suffering and heal.
Ingredient #1 BREATHE
It sounds like such a simple thing but some of us struggle with this more than others.
For me, learning to breathe has been a lifesaver and I am still learning so much.
In a previous blog, I made reference to James Nestor’s book Breath – the New Science of a Lost
“…the basics of restorative breathing …slow and long techniques are open to everyone – old and young , sick and healthy , rich and poor . They’ve been practiced by Hinduism , Buddhism , Christianity , and other religions for thousands of years , but only recently have we learned how they can reduce blood pressure, boost athletic performance , and balance the nervous system. “
Here are a few examples of how breathing has contributed to my new found sense of well being .
1. Work through fear and anxiety
When I think back to my first full blown panic attack and thought I was having a stroke ….the time when that physician told me that I was allergic to life . For months I thought I must have some neurological disorder until I was seen by a neurologist who explained to me that I had a panic disorder . I was hyperventilating ! Unfortunately at the time , I didn’t take the time to explore the concept of anxiety . I needed to get rid of it as soon as possible so I took medication for 6 months to make it go away . I needed to be able to function and this was my quick fix to survival .
You know the saying if I’d only known then what I know now ??
My anxiety came back in full force this past summer as I struggled with COVID symptoms .
This year , I have discovered that when you focus your attention fully on your breathing , it really is possible to detach from one’s thoughts . What a relief ! The best part is ….no meds required .
2. Physical Pain
One of my biggest challenges of late has been physical pain. Deepak Chopra MD, is an Indian-American author and alternative medicine advocate and an excellent authority on well- being. His teachings and guided meditations have introduced me to breath awareness and how it can be used to heal the body.
It’s really not that complicated!
Step 1 – observe your breath without manipulating it.
Step 2 – deepen your breath and slow it down
- slowly count to 4 as you breathe in a full breath
- pause and count to 2
- Slowly count to 6 as you breathe out fully.
- Do this for one minute and your breathing rate should drop .
- Now, direct your breath to any area of discomfort using your breath to bring awareness to those areas .
Chopra describes your breath to a taxi cab that directs awareness to areas of discomfort . This is called self regulating the healing mechanisms of the body through the breath and I can actually say that with much daily practice, it is finally working for me.
There are so many different breathing techniques and I think it’s a matter of testing things out to see what works best for you.
A friend recently introduced me to the Wim Hof Method which I am starting to explore – wim hof method guided breathing for beginners. I tried this video a few times and then discovered that there is a class on Pure Yoga tv online and I love it. Either one can work. I found it a bit intimidating at first and I have yet to hold my breath as long as they do! Practice, practice, practice…
Pure Yoga –
ALL LEVELS PRACTICE
Instructor : Dan Gomez-Duran
This guided breathwork mimics the popular Wim Hof technique. Some benefits to practicing include stress reduction, muscle/body recovery, increased energy, focus, and enhanced creativity.
These past months I have had the privilege to take the time to explore alternative interventions in an attempt to get my life back. In the process I have discovered that I don’t want that life back!
New beginnings and an infinite number of possibilities moving forward.
Wishing you wellness,