It’s the first morning of the New Year and here we are! Fresh from the previous year and ready to take on the 12 months to come. It’s a time when the traditional practice is to make the so called “resolutions” toward the New Year. Usually folks will focus on self improvement ideas such as quitting smoking, losing weight or eating a more healthy diet. These are endeavors that are certainly worthwhile and what I would call “commitment worthy”. However, I often here that people have a varying degree of success with some of these resolutions. I attended a workshop once where I heard that something in the order of 80% of “diets” meet with either noncompliance or plain old failure. It could be that some of the programs that people try are not sustainable in real life, are not realistic or the individual sets standards that are not realistic.
No matter what the resolution is, I think that it is important to commit to positive change and goals that truly fit into our lives and personal styles. The belief in ourselves as we are and the faith in our resolve to be our best in everyday (I know it sounds like an army recruitment ad) is a goal in itself. If we can get to this – I think all of the rest will follow.
If we also take the focus away from exclusively ourselves, it allows us to look around at the world and the people in our lives. A positive focus on the people around us, even strangers, gives a better chance of paying it forward, spreading the positive vibes and being happy. This all comes back to building and improving ourselves. I wish you all a Happy New Year!
I wrote about the preparation for your Yoga Class last post. It’s one of those things where there’s truly a “before, during and after”. The “after” of a Yoga practice is important. You’ve recovered from lying on the floor in savasana and here you go back out into the world. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you do this.
1. Be happy and thankful to yourself for making the effort to be there and challenge yourself. This extends to everyone around you. It’s always nice to bid others good bye or even a nod of acknowledgement since they were part of the experience. I remember being taken completely by surprise after a class when young female friend of my gave me a huge embrace after the class. She wanted to just share the moment. Sure – not everyone wants a hug – especially strangers – but a little kind acknowledgement goes a long way.
2. If you made an intent or goal at the beginning of the class, give some consideration to how you might take it away and continue to use or consider it. If the goal is living your intentions and growing, well why not take it with you. There is a philosophy about “leaving your yoga practice on your mat” but I think that the strength and insight that we sometimes achieve are worth taking with us.
3. Thank the teacher and be sure to let him or her know how much you appreciated and particular parts of the class. It’s always a good opportunity to ask a question.
4. Nurture your body with water. Many classes are dehydrating if you worked hard and sweated.
These are some of my suggestions and I’d be open to your comments.
Yoga has become an integral part of my life. It is a practice that is a lifestyle for many, at the most, and a means of exercise and stress management, at the least, for some. Regardless of how much or little that the practice of yoga occupies one’s life – it’ all good. Yoga is about balance. Yoga is about strength and calmness. It’s about developing and nurturing yourself. While you are on your mat, you focus on all of these aspects and for once it’s ok for it to be “all about me”.
If you are new to yoga, it would be great if you tried any intro or beginner class. You will find – I can guarantee- an atmosphere of TOTAL acceptance of simply who you are and where you are at. This is what is to be asked of you.
If Yoga is an established part of your life than lucky and wise you. I hope you find some of my future posts to be interesting. Feel free to add any comments or suggestions. Namaste
Who would have thought that an actor from the Sopranos TV series, Joey Pantoliano “Joey Pants” would be a leader in the area of mental health education and awareness and one of the most significant figures that I’m aware of in the crusade to de-stigmatize all forms of mental illness. Well through his documentary, “No Kidding, Me Too” he has started the NKM2 movement that has also involved a remarkable group of individuals from all walks of life as well as other celebrities.
The NKM2 web site is very impressive as well as the actual documentary. There are some segments that you can view for free on Youtube. It’s an entertaining and fascinating look at a range of individuals, some mental health professionals, who have experienced mental health issues of some form. It’s about hope, confidence and the knowledge that it’s all something that can be dealt with. Also, the documentary, as well as the whole, NKM2 organization provides information and direction on new research and resources. And by the way, Joey Pantoliano himself reveals his own struggle with a mood disorder and ADHD.
It’s a great movement and as Joey Pants says “Infotainment!”
Photo credit: No Kidding, Me Too .ORG
The important part of the title is “your approach”. Just like your own finger print, your stress is unique and the approach to deal with stress and anxiety is as individual as you.
- Thinking is an important aspect of any approach to daily stress or anxiety. The style of our thought patterns often plays a role in how we deal with challenges such as stressors or symptoms of anxiety. One of the Best approaches is seen in the Centre for Positive Psychology that is directed by Dr. Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania.
2. Physical Activity remains an important part of any approach to the management of daily stress and symptoms of anxiety. There is quite a lot of research to support the benefits of regular exercise for mental and physical health. Especially exercise that you enjoy. I previously reviewed an article posted by the American Psychological Association.
Your Approach to Taking Care of Yourself is as Unique as your Fingerprint
3. Getting Help . Help can come in the form of a good book that you find to have the information that you need , such as Kabot-Zinn’s Full Catastrophie Living or a therapist who is trained in the area in which you need help. Psychologists and other mental health professionals, especially in private practices, are able to list the areas of specialty in their public listings. You can also see what organizations and licensing bodies they are affiliated with. If you feel that you need the assistance of a professional – it’s important to get someone suitable for you. Most will even answer questions before you make a commitment to refer yourself.
These are some key features that I recommend considering.. I’m interested in your views.
I recently read a story in the Globe and Mail about a remarkable achievement of four adventurers in the Canada who completed what was called a “dangerous and unprecedented” ski trek between Jasper and Lake Louise, Alberta. They skied across mountains, ice fields and extreme terrain on wooden skis without GPS, Satellite Phone or any high tech equipment. They faced extreme conditions and lost up to 22 lbs. The traverse took 21 days. When they finished, they ended up on a highway where they had a coffee at a cafe and then simply went home in different directions (I’m sure there was at least a high five). This amazing and “epic” trip happened 50 years ago before selfies and social media that would chronicle their moves every step of the way and announce their victorious completion the moment it happened. But they are only being truly recognized in this newspaper story now. I found it amazing to think that the four young men went about their lives simply knowing that each had accomplished something that was admirable and “award worthy” but kept it to themselves as their own personal victory, with media hype, CNN coverage or a Youtube post.
Sometimes it’s simply Enough for Only You to Know that You Have Accomplished Something
I think that there is some wisdom here for those who climb their own personal “mountains” in life. Whether it’s an epic hike or dealing with a difficult situation, problem, relationship or challenge. Whatever our achievement is, sometimes it’s enough for on YOU to know that you have done it.
There are times in life where our challenges are ours to face on our own. It’s sometimes a very lonely and isolated feeling. And, sure, it’s always great to have support and share our accomplishments, but sometimes it doesn’t happen that way – sometimes it’s just you.
I think that one of the greatest challenges is to have enough self respect and acceptance of ourselves to recognize our own courage, commitment and ability without the approval or recognition of anyone else.
The new Netflix Series “13 Reasons Why” based on the same titled book by Jay Asher, has met with what would truly be called “critical acclaim”. It seems that for every review that is raving and complimentary, there is a review that is quite critical. Some people feel that the series is a great work that highlights mental health issues. I’ll leave the reviews to the experts and the viewers who formulate their own opinions (although I’d like to hear yours, certainly). However, I do think that 13 Reasons matters for three important (maybe more) reasons:
- It Gets Us Thinking. A work like this gets us thinking about our perspective on the issue of human relationships as well as our influence on those around us. The series highlights the idea that we actually influence those people in our lives, and vice versa, perhaps more than we think. Any work of art, literature or media that does this is valuable.
- It Gets Us Talking. The Series and Book has allowed us to simply talk and discuss the subject matters and the story in coffee shops with friends and on social media. This hopefully leads to a sharing and development – and even progression – of ideas about human relationships, caring and mental health
- It gets Us Acting When we think and talk about ideas in a constructive and open way, there is usually some form of, again hopefully positive, action that follows. A series like “13 Reasons” will probably lead to some changes in peoples’ behaviour in the form of a more positive relationship style or communication style with others.
I’d be interested in your views.
Photo Credit Netflix.com
When you ask someone where they are truly at peace or some place where a person can go to collect themselves, you often get a variety of answers. Some people have that “special place” like a cottage or shore by the ocean that allows them to “get their head screwed on straight” realaxt heir thoughts or work through a problem by doing some serious thinking. Sadly, some people do not have such a place and feel trapped at times when the need is there to get away from it all.
It’s important to many to have an oasis, a sanctuary, an escape, or even a room in the house(or apartment) that they can call their own. Once there, it really doesn’t matter if you practice fancy mindfulness, meditation or Just Be. Simply being there on your own, feeling safe and calm , is sometimes enough. But if your place involves banging through the waves in a speed boat with the wind blowing through your hair – well that’s fine too. It’s your place.
The thing that is important is to be able to find that tranquility or space when you need it.
I’d be interested in other people’s experiences and what Your special place is.
Even though the list can be endless, I think that the following 5 components of tacking your stress are essential for any plan!
1 . ENJOY the activities that you are using to deal with your stress.
The American Heart Association has outlined the importance of actually incorporating enjoyable and pleasurable activities into your stress management plan. Doing things that you simply don’t enjoy does not work