Last week marked the 16th anniversary of the unfathomable 9/11 terrorist attacks. Our world was forever changed on that day. This week we celebrate International Peace Day on September 21, which is also World Gratitude Day. How fitting that both are celebrated on the same day, since expressing gratitude and feeling grateful put us on a path to experiencing peace.
Reducing stress and feeling at peace isn’t easy during these times. In addition to the everyday pressures of juggling work and family obligations, we worry about such things as the threat of terrorism and gun violence, political and social unrest, and the rising costs of healthcare…to name just a few. There are so many competing issues that tug at our ability to feel at peace, especially when we feel like we have so little control over our circumstances.
I’m in the business of raising the consciousness of our planet, one person at a time. My intention is to help as many people as possible to care about their inner lives and living with integrity, and to encourage those around them to do the same. Finding peace within ourselves is critically needed right now.
All change begins within each of us. That’s why my top priority is to walk my talk. In the last seven years, I’ve dedicated much of my personal and professional life to the topic of self-care because I’ve so desperately needed it myself.
I spent too many years doing things that did not honor my priorities because I was trying to conform to what others thought I “should” be, do or have. At one point in my life, I was sacrificing my own health and wounding important relationships because I was more committed to my work than I was to self-care and tending to my most treasured relationships.
Self-care is essential to our planet. Practicing extreme self-care is not selfish—it’s responsible! Imagine a world where each of us respected and valued ourselves, as well as all of humanity. It all begins within each of us.
Cheryl Richardson, author of several New York Times bestselling books, reminds us, “When we care deeply for ourselves, we naturally begin to care for others – our families, our friends, our greater global community, and the environment – in a healthier and more effective way. We tell the truth. We make choices from love instead of guilt, obligation, or hidden motives. We stop judging and we start listening. We don’t take sides, we build bridges. And we cut people some slack when they push our buttons because these are difficult times for those of us who choose to be awake instead of asleep.”
Although some things are beyond your control, you can choose how you care for yourself. In today’s and next week’s blog, you’ll receive tips to help you tend to your four essential areas of human need–physical, mental, spiritual, and social. Taking care of yourself will help you feel more in control and will help you reduce stress and feel more at peace.
What can you do to practice extreme self-care?
Tend to your physical well-being
Make time to eat properly, exercise, and rest. Exercise clears your mind and returns the body to a more healthful state. But you don’t need to spend hours at a gym to gain the benefits of exercise; even a 10-minute daily walk can decrease anxiety. Besides providing a break in your daily routine, exercise gets the blood circulating, boosts your mood, eases tension, and promotes more restful sleep–an essential part of getting and staying healthy. Exercise is a healthy way of getting rid of excess energy your body has no use for. Exercise also decreases the risk of coronary artery disease–the #1 cause of death in the U.S.
If you’d like some additional help with this, check out my guide on 12 Daily Habits to Improve Your Health & Well-being.
Choose how you focus your mental energy
One of the best ways to change your emotion is to get in motion. It’s harder to stay depressed when you fully engage your body. The next time you feel down, try changing your physiology: hold your chin up, put your shoulders back, breathe deeply, smile, and get in motion! If you don’t believe me, try it!
Give yourself a “news break.” Control the amount of time you and your family spend reading about and watching all the negative news coverage. It’s okay to turn off the TV or radio and allow yourself to focus on more pleasant things and positive mental energy.
Look at the humorous side of life and you’ll shift your thinking away from focusing on what you don’t want. Laughter initiates the release of beta-endorphins – those same natural relaxants that are released during exercise. Endorphins make you feel good and protect the immune system by decreasing cortisol, an immune system suppressor.
You cannot change some of the experiences or events in your life, but you can change your response to those events, which changes the outcome for you.
Remember this powerful equation:
E (event) + R (response) = O (outcome)
If you’d like some additional help with this, check out my guide on how to Banish Stress from Your Life.
Part two of this blog will arrive in a couple days and will take a look at tending to two more important components to self-care: spiritual and social.
Did you enjoy my article, Finding Peace Within? What are one or two things you will begin doing to practice extreme self-care? Please comment below.