This entry is almost ironic coming from me. I say that because I have become the queen of juggling balls in the air and building one long To Do List after the other. So this is one of those things where I am reminding myself of the good practices that help feed my soul and comfort my spirit and I am going to share them with you as I remind myself to do more of them.
#1 Gratitude First – Start your day with gratitude. Open your eyes, pick up a pen and a piece of paper and write down 5 things that you are grateful for right now. It could be some major goal that has been accomplished, or the simple blessing of being able to open your eyes to see another sunrise. More gratitude multiplies the goodness in your life.
#2 Real Rest – Sleep restores an overwhelmed mind, rebuilds and repairs neuron pathways and reduces stress. Learn de-stressing techniques that work for you like deep breathing or meditating. I have learned to turn use the “Do Not Disturb” tool on my phone to reduce interruptions, play relaxing music or sounds of nature when I lay down. I also use a sleep mask to provide additional protection from the interruption of outside light.
Check out Yellow Brick Cinema on YouTube for a variety of choices on soundtracks to fit your needs and personal tastes.
The sounds of rain are perfect for drifting off to sleep or melting into relaxation mode. I always found that I sleep well during rainy nights. And now I can replicate that with this recording anytime I need it.
# 3 Time Out – Give yourself regular time outs, where you unplug from the digital world, silence the noise and chaos and get quiet. Be still. Turn off the radio. Turn off the computer and cell phone. Turn off the television. Stop all of the outside input and get quiet. Get still. Listen for your own thoughts and feelings. And ask God for direction about your life. When you get quiet, He has the opportunity to speak to you and you can hear. But if you never get off of this merry-go-round of outside stimulation and other people’s thoughts, then how can you hear from Him?
#4 Healthy Habits – Take time to support the body and brain through proper diet and exercise, which increases blood flow to the brain, reduces stress and helps you focus. Get in at least 2 to 3 days a week of aerobic exercise (which could lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 60%). Be more mindful to feel the body well. Fuel it with a balanced diet, more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. The key word is “mindful”. Many times being in a hurry and being pressed for time we reach for what is convenient and fast and that is rarely a way to build good eating habits (that is how I end up in the fast food drive through way too many times).
#5 New Territory / Lifelong Learning – Don’t stop expanding your knowledge. Clear more neural pathways by learning a new language, a new skill, an instrument or hobby. The challenge of the unknown strengthens brain resilience, stretches your capacity, enlarges your territory and widens your possibility thinking.
Live well and live long.