The major recurring theme in all the columns I have written over the years has been our own responsibility for our health. Yesterday I was talking to a cancer survivor who told me if she had not been proactive in her own health care, she would not be here today. I have had people tell me, “If I needed that, my doctor would tell me,” ignoring the fact that doctors have minimal training in nutrition and none I know of in complementary and alternative therapies. It falls to us to educate ourselves and make the effort required to regain and maintain our health.
Many people who come to me for sessions tell me I am so calm and balanced, I couldn’t possibly understand what they are going through. If I am calm and balanced, it is through daily self effort, using the tools I know to keep myself that way. I use deep breathing, stretching and Yoga, playing music and singing, massage, daily Reiki self treatment, TAT sessions when I feel the need, a good diet, laughing, having a wonderful group of loving friends, having dogs, wearing natural fiber clothing, sleeping plenty, drinking pure water, and having an active and ongoing spiritual life.
Let’s start with the free stuff. Air is free, and here in the country, we have plenty of clean air. Take deep breaths that make your belly expand. Most people breathe little shallow breaths in their chests, bringing air only to the top of their lungs. Fill up your lungs by letting your whole abdomen expand. This brings you to a state of relaxation and oxygenates your system. Try it. You cannot simultaneously take 7 deep breaths and stay uptight.
Stretching and Yoga incorporate deep breathing and body movement. As your body opens, as in stretching back, inhale. As your body compresses or folds, exhale. It makes perfect sense. When we were taught stretching in school or sports programs, it was mindless and repetitive, which often led to injuries. Use stretching in a mindful way. Be inside your body as you stretch and breathe, so you feel what is going on and stop before you get to a hurtful overstretch.
Eating. It’s not free, but you will be amazed how much cheaper it is to eat well than poorly. I buy everything I can organic, which is more costly, but I can buy several bags of groceries for less than I see the people around me, who are buying prepared dinners, junk and processed foods. It costs money to take perfectly good food and make it bad for you! Go for raw food and cook it yourself. What you spend on organic, good quality food you save in the long run with your improved health.
Drinking. How many people drink soda? It is a national or worldwide crisis that we are poisoning ourselves with this nasty stuff. Sparkling water with a little fruit juice added makes a refreshing drink, much healthier than soda. And diet sodas? The chemicals in diet sodas are pure poison.
Of course I recommend massage and Reiki. They are life enhancing and wonderful for anyone, especially when given by a skilled and loving practitioner. And it is important to have good friends, people we can talk to and tell the truth to and let our hair down with. If you have to be careful of how you act and what you say so your friends don’t judge you, you need to find yourself a new set of friends!