As we embark onto 2019 we find ourselves thinking through what changes we want to make in order to grow and transform. Eagerly, we make several resolutions, only to find ourselves struggling to keep them as we try to do too much too fast. The one thing to remember is, each improvement we make must be lived with intention. So this year, I challenge you to take small actions and act inside yourself. What do you think are the top by things you can do inside yourself to be happier, stronger, wiser and more? Allow your self to wonder as you read through the 8 steps of self care lifestyle changes you can make this year!
1. Immerse yourself in nature. Being out in nature is a therapeutic, multi-sensory experience. Going for a walk, even if it’s only for ten minutes, can help manage the blues and lower feelings of anxiety. Research has shown that walking outdoors is linked to higher levels of oxytocin, which is the “feel-good” hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. Additional benefits of walking include increased cardiovascular fitness, reduced rates of heart disease and stroke, improved management of conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, join and muscular pain and diabetes, stronger bones and improved balance, and reduction in body fat. Interested in learning even more? Learn more about Walking Therapy with Shakti!
2. Commit to eating healthy. Have diets worked for you? If so, please share your secret with me! For many years I have been caught in a cycle of eating too little and ending up starving and over eating. Diets and I have not been able to get along. This made me wonder, how can I commit to a healthier relationship with food without becoming obsessed with food. Through this pondering I came across a study conducted during World War II that revealed starving our bodies leads to an obsession to food. So let’s rewrite the story to eating healthy by intuitively listening to our bodies when we are hungry, consume more natural foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts. What’s one meal you can replace with a healthier option today?
3. Donate your clothes. We’ve all been guilty for keeping that shirt for one too many years; hoping we will wear it or fit into it one day. When we keep things from our past and do not use them in our present life, do they pull us back or move us forward? If you haven’t worn something in over a year, chances are you probably will not be wearing that item of clothing anytime soon. So let’s commit to sharing what we treasure, even if that be one shirt, with others by donating what no longer is part of our present moment. Through this act of giving, we can even reward ourselves with that tax deduction to get a couple of new pieces that bring joy! Clothing can lift your mood if you put a little energy into it.
4. Genuinely apologize and release. Is there a person you’ve wanted to meaningfully apologize to but haven’t gotten around to? I invite you to take a step in releasing that heaviness you are carrying and apologize. For many an apology is forgiving yourself and releasing the negativity that is tied to the situation. Apologizing takes place in 3 steps – Regret, Responsibility, Remedy. Regret is an expression of empathy for the pain, damage or inconvenience that may have taken place. Empathy allows you to genuinely connect with the other person and lets them know you care. Responsibility allows us own up to our actions and not blaming the other person through excuses. This usually is the hardest step since it requires us to look deep within and admit that we are not perfect. Lastly, Remedy is an expression to mend the situation so it does not happen again. It is a promise to work towards not allowing the mistake to happen again. ! Are you ready to commit to the 3 R’s today? If you need more help, call Shakti for a free consultation!
5. Express gratitude. Expressing gratitude for our daily lives brings a sense of calmness and helps us manage the day-to-day anxieties we may have face. Gratitude begins with an inner feeling and extends to our outer world. When we’re grateful for the things happening around us and the people we love, we are fostering the growth for love and tenderness to grow. Remember to be specific when expressing gratitude to someone. For example, “Thank you for doing the dishes and giving me a few moments to rest. I feel much more energized now!”
6. Develop a thoughtful mantra. A mantra is a phrase or a singe word that is used as a focal point of concentration to help you reconnect with your intention. It carries important meaning that is specific to you, and acts as a powerful affirmation to invoke a positive shift in your mind. Some benefits of mantras include an increase in confidence, solidification of goals, evoking muscle memory through repetition, relieves anxiety,regulates heart rate, releases endorphins and eases fear. What is your mantra for today?
7. Write. Journal. Express. Keeping a daily journal is an evaluation of your experience and a moment for you to focus on YOU! Journaling can be writing down one sentence or carving out 15 minutes to jot down any thoughts you may have. Expressing yourself in writing increases self-awareness, stretches your IQ, evokes mindfulness, increases emotional intelligence, strengthens self discipline, improves communication, fosters creativity, and promotes healing from traumas, depression, anxiety and other painful feelings.
8. Invest in your relationships. A strong foundation of friendships can help you feel more confident, move through the deepest challenges, improve your well-being and cultivate pure joy! Wendy Wasson, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, suggests to “Make a list of all your family and friends and consider what energy they bring into your life. Aim for a range of relationships that connect with different facets of you: people you can have fun with, count on, share your feelings with, debate with, flirt with, share your interests with, and just ‘be’ with.” It’s important to invest in your relationships and maintain a health community. In order to do this, make it a point to connect with the people on your list at once a week. A simple “Hello,” or “thinking of you” can go a long way in a years time!
We have an amazing year to look forward to and an opportunity to invest in ourselves. I hope that these tips help to get you off to a good start in 2019!
Ektha Aggarwal is a licensed South Asian Therapist and CEO of Shakti Therapy and Healing Services in Los Angeles, CA. Ektha specializes in working with South Asians (Indian & Desi) and people of color to break the stigma around mental health and instill the concept of immigrant resilience. If you are ready to feel empowered, effortlessly achieve your goals, and feel more happiness in your life, schedule a complimentary consultation now.