We live in increasingly stressful, anxious times. Just the other day, for example, I read how as businesses lay off workers in a down economy, those left behind are being asked to do more -- and more. This is particularly true in the US, where statistics show workers put in 378 more hours per year than those in Germany and 122 more hours per year than those in Great Britain.
What to do as the pace of life increases in us and around us?
I sensed a great calm within
When I was 18, I left my home in London, England -- I was an only child -- and went out to Southern Rhodesia, as it was then called. My cousin, Ivor, who was editor of a business magazine called the Rhodesian Recorder, had invited me to come out and work for him as an editorial assistant.
It was pretty exciting stuff. Not long after I arrived, I went into a hotel in Salisbury -- now called Harare -- to have lunch. It was amazing. A young black waiter brought me five or six courses, with real meat on the menu. In England, meat was still in short supply for some time after the war ended.
After a year or so I was called to participate in a six-week training camp as a member of the Rhodesian territorial army. And sometime during these six weeks, for reasons long forgotten, I got in an argument with two young white tobacco farmers. Most of the young men in the camp were farmers, strong, suntanned and very much at home in their native land. I worked in an office and I wasn’t too much at home in my new country either.
At a certain point in this altercation, when things could clearly escalate quite quickly, I had a sudden sense of a dimension within myself that was larger than anything I had previously known. It was a momentary experience of great peace and well-being and it brought an immediate sense of assurance and calm. I realized I lived in a loving universe and the trouble between us could quickly evaporate if I let it – which I did.
5 steps on the path to well-being
60 years have passed since that long-ago day on a dusty African plain. I have come to realize that truly, we do have resources of well-being and wisdom within us that are unfathomable and actually part of our true nature. All that is necessary is to find ways to access this innate well-being and learn to live in balance and harmony with it.
Here are 5 simple ways I find useful to help me stay connected with my own inner well-being. What about you? What are some of the ways that you handle stress and anxiety? Please share, won't you?
1. Slowly sip some cool, clear water
This may sound a little strange. But believe me, it works. I have been doing this every now and again for 30 or 40 years, and it never fails. Sit down quietly by yourself with a cup of water, and take a series of small sips. I mean SLOW. Really take your time with this. Let each sip be a sacrament between you and the holy, healing power of pure water.
Water is one of the greatest healers you will ever find. Try holding each sip between the tip of your tongue and your teeth or palate for a moment before you swallow.
2. Give yourself five minutes to do some belly breathing
Abdominal breathing is one of the quickest ways I know to lower stress and promote well-being. I try and do it for a few minutes every night before going to bed. I know for a fact that "therapeutic" breathing, as it is sometimes called, helps keep my blood pressure nicely under control.
3. Go to the gym, or go for a walk
Everywhere you look nowadays you will find a new article or presentation about the value of exercise. Personally, I love walking, and I love resistance training at the gym. I’ve been going to the gym for ten years, and at 79, feel fitter and in better shape than I was 20 years ago.
Laughter has amazing therapeutic power. This may sound strange, but it's really only in the past few years that I've learned to laugh. Research presented at a European Society of Cardiology conference in Paris last week shows that watching a funny movie or television show aids vascular function, while a stressful or scary movie narrows blood vessels.
The vascular improvement caused by laughter is similar to the benefits found in aerobic exercise or the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, said the lead researcher, Michael Miller of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
5. Be still
Stillness is the very essence of true happiness and well-being. A few moments ago I was sitting on the porch of our townhome admiring the beautiful evening when a small finch came and perched on a vertical branch near the top of the 30-foot blue spruce tree that grows opposite our front door. I thought to myself, as I watched this tiny creature, hasppy just to be still, "What could make this moment any more perfect than it already is ?"
Free wellness tips
Came across a free offering at the Wholefood Farmacy the other day which I think is worth passing on to you. This is an interesting company, based in Tennessee, that specializes in whole food-based meals and snacks and non-toxic personal care items. I've ordered one of their products, a mixture of dried whole grains and fruits that you chew like a trail-mix, and will let you know what I think about it next week.
What I wanted to mention here is that they offer a series of free, very up-to-date and informative e-mails regarding different aspects of a preventative-based lifestyle. It’s called “90 days to wellness” and I totally recommend these free educational e-mails. If you’re interested, just click on the above link and then find the link to download the free emails. Sample titles are “Water and Your Heart,” and "Teach our children well."
That's it for now. I send you blessings and love from Colorado. Never forget that wellness is your birthright, and it’s just waiting to flourish and grow stronger in you regardless of your age even in these difficult times.
Picture credit: helenoftheways