Sometimes we become so wrapped up in our busy lives we forget to look after ourselves and end up feeling empty. We feel we have lost control and don’t know what to do next. Rather than letting yourself get to the point of feeling overwhelmed, it is a good idea to develop habits that will nourish your mind, body and soul. Here are a few things you can work on each day to assure you are nourishing your soul.
Cultivate unconditional love. Before you can do this you really need to practice self love. If you can love yourself, you can transform your soul and become a better person. After you have mastered self love, you can master love of others by thinking of them as a part of your family. Reach out and offer them your friendship. Do things for them without expecting something in return. This will make you feel grounded and more alive.
Practice acts of kindness. When you give selflessly to someone your body actually produces a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin will lower blood pressure and improve heart health and help you feel better. In addition, kindness gives you purpose and meaning. The Dalia Lama said: “When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace…”
Simplify your life. Our world is incredibly complicated and this impacts how we live. Many of us spend our days doing things we don’t like to do or being distracted by unnecessary things. This creates turmoil inside of us that cannot escape. Fortunately, we can simplify our lives if we are mindful about our thoughts, actions, and attitude and choose to ignore the chaos we are surrounded by. Try doing these three things and see how you feel: declutter your living space, limit your TV or computer time to 45 minutes a day and buy only the basic things you need.
Provide ample time for relaxation. Nowadays it is difficult to steal away time from our lengthy agendas. We are driven to get more done and frequently deprive our body of adequate sleep to accomplish this. When we sleep our body repairs and restores itself. This is important for both physical and mental performance. You cannot be at your best if you deprive yourself of sleep.
Eat the right food. You are what you eat. Your diet has a significant impact on how well you feel. It is important to educate yourself on what foods are best for your body. There is endless confusion on this topic and if you are feeling at a loss, consider Dr. Mark Hyman’s book, “Food, What the Heck Should I Eat?” It is paramount to understand that many of the foods sold in markets today are far from the best quality. Food directly controls your mind and body and connects you to others. Food is your medicine. Per Dr. Hyman, “Food is the doorway to living well and loving well – and to fixing much of what’s wrong with our world.”
Exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins that make us feel happy and joyful. It reduces stress hormones and can actually improve depression. It can also increase heart rate variability, enabling you to handle challenging circumstances better. Take a daily walk with the dog, go to a yoga class or ride a bicycle to work and see how much better you feel.
Be optimistic. When we take on a positive and constructive attitude problems do not seem as difficult and are easier to solve. We are able to move on and live in the present instead of being constantly reminded that something is wrong. Studies show that people who are optimistic are healthier and live longer when followed up at 15 and 40 years. Make a conscious effort to be more optimistic each day.
Practice mindfulness. Be aware of what you are thinking about. Leave the past behind. Don’t fret over things you could have done better in the years gone by because it will create more stress and suffering for you today. Start thinking of what you can do in the present for yourself and others. Make each moment in your day count. Try spending 15 minutes each day meditating. There are numerous free resources out there to help you get started. Meditation will train you to be in the present moment and will reduce your daily stress.
Getting into the habit of nourishing your soul regularly will make every day’s challenges seem much easier.