Welcome to the DW Healing Arts Be Well series of wellness tips for January 2016. Each day I will highlight a card from my Balance Resource Cards decks. The wellness resources will help you bring balance to your body, mind and spirit if used on a regular basis.
Take a moment right now, and practice today's wellness tip as you read this. Grab your journal, turn off your phone, find a quiet place without interruptions and set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes. This is time you are investing in yourself. You are worth it.
Give yourself permission to balance your life.
May you Be Well! Love, Deanna
Tapping is a technique to help shift us out of old unhealthy patterns and into new patterns. The tapping helps to imprint new muscle memory in our brain and body. There are various methods for tapping, but I like to use simple versions that are easy to remember and quick to use. Try using the methods below during a bathroom break or when you need to concentrate on a project.
The easiest way to maintain your health and build your energy reserves is by eating foods which transfer its original essence/energy to your body. Foods that are closest to their natural state are healthier than foods that are highly processed or have less of their original essence. You already know fresh organic foods are very healthy for you. A fresh apple will replenish your energy reserves much more quickly than a handful of potato chips. The apple has a higher percentage of it's original essence in it. Potato chips that are deep fried and highly processed have very little of the original essence of the potato they were made from. When eating, try to choose the healthier options when possible.
Breathing is an important way to reduce our stress levels. It helps you think clearly. It also helps oxygenate the tissues, which appears to prevent the growth of cancer cells in some studies. We all need to breathe. Many of us breathe from the upper part of our chest instead of our diaphragm. Try this experiment to determine if you are breathing correctly. Lie down on a flat surface and place a box of tissues on your stomach. Now breathe normally. You should notice the box rising and falling with your breath cycle. If it is not doing this, pay attention to drawing the breath into your lower abdomen and filling this area before filling your upper chest. Practice this for a few minutes until it feels natural.
Deep breathing switches your body's fight or flight stress response into a rest and digest relaxation response. Try the following 4 - 7 - 8 count cycle. Take a deep breath for a count of 4. Use your entire lung capacity by starting your breath from your abdominal area, up to the diaphragm, then expanding your ribs out as far as possible. Hold for a count of 7, then slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat the process for several breath cycles. You may also try counting each breath backwards in cycles of 4 as another strategy for quieting your mind.
Slow breathing while smiling and moving your eyes activates different parts of the brain, promoting deep relaxation. Find a rectangle object in your line of vision. Look at the upper left corner. As your eyes move to the upper right corner, inhale for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 4 as your eyes move to the lower right corner of the object. Exhale for a count of 4 as your eyes move to the lower left corner. Now hold your breath and smile while your eyes return to the upper left corner of the object. Repeat several times.
There are other breathing exercises you can find here. Try intentionally breathing every few hours during the day. Set a timer to remind you.
Take a few moments and breathe mindfully right now. What do you notice?
A friend recently posted a link to an article about Self Care for Highly Sensitive People by Cortney Chaite. The article did a great job defining what life is like for someone who is HSP. She even mentioned the fact that there are "50 shades of sensitivity," which explains why many of us experience some level of over-stimulation with our environment from time to time. Chaite makes a case that self care is especially important for those who consider themselves HSP. However, she failed to mention specific self care practices for sensitive people in her article.
I'd like to pick up where that article left off. As an occupational therapist, I understand the sensory processing issues that can overwhelm people during the day. The "50 shades of sensitivity" are a continuum from high to low sensitivity. When the brain is over-stimulated, it triggers the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), dumping chemicals in the body which creates a fight or flight response. For the HSP, this constant triggering of the SNS creates a mild state of shock in the body. People don’t think clearly and they begin to feel overwhelmed or emotionally drained. Their personal space (or energetic boundary) also becomes fuzzy as they start to absorb emotions, feelings and energy from others around them.
There is growing awareness of how various forms of tapping improve your body's ability to heal. Tapping can reset your body's patterns of response. Tapping can even slow down or prevent dis-ease processes from progressing. One of the most common methods is called EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique. This technique involves tapping various acupressure points while saying affirmations as a way to imprint new patterns of thought in your unconscious mind. Many people have success with the various versions of this technique. It is important to have an open mind when working with these techniques as our attitudes impact the success or failure of these methods. I've experimented a bit with this technique, but have not used it consistently enough to get the results I would like.
DW Healing Arts
Balance Resource Cards
Mind Body Spirit