What is health – Part 1

We are living in a time where health and all things considered “healthy” are on trend.   While this is clearly more positive than some of the trends I have witnessed in my life (think: Fat free eating, shoes that tone as you walk, diet pills, carb free eating, and so on) it can be a bit cumbersome when the people you are with do not let you enjoy anything that is not considered acceptable by their standards. Lets call them the health Natzi’s (sorry to my dear friend Tea who is German). These are the ones that will poo poo your glass of wine or piece of fresh crusty bread dipped in luscious olive oil, let alone your consumption of anything containing dairy. It’s true certain things are not the best for your health but there is a certain balance here and we all need to find the correct formula for our bodies and our lifestyle.

I personally do not believe there is one health script for everyone. After all we are all unique. There are certainly many options out there in terms of diet alone and we need to work out what suits us the best and what we can make a part of our everyday routine.

For those just starting on this journey, getting healthy can be daunting. Where do you start? What should you eat or not eat? With the focus on all things health there can even be a sense of guilt if we are getting on this bandwagon only now.

In my humble opinion it is never too late to do something positive for our health and it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Try these 5 simple steps if you are not already doing them:

  1. Drink water every day and remember that each caffeinated or alcoholic beverage will dehydrate the body
  2. Go to bed by 10pm as research shows going to bed earlier gives our bodies and organs a chance to repair and rejuvenate
  3. 3. Eat more plant based foods, which can include whole grains and nuts as well as fruits and vegetables
  4. Find a healthy way to unwind every day that does not involve self-medication
  5. Keep an eye on your mindset as what we focus on will grow!

A life full…

I woke up this morning feeling full. Not full from a meal loaded with carbohydrates and fats, but full of the richness of life. Recently I attended a symposium, which filled my body with lightness and my mind with possibility. There were speakers that spoke from the heart and one in particular Robyn Moore, (formerly the voice of Blinky Bill) filled the audience with gratitude and joy. These same feelings rest with me today, even as I gaze at the piles of papers I need to sort, the “to do” list that is winking in my direction, and the piles of dirty clothes spilling out of the hampers.

It is far too easy to see the daily grind of life in a soured light and lose sight of the magic that happens all around us moment to moment. When this happens, and it happens to all of us, we have a choice. We can view our challenges and responsibilities as thieves of our joy or we can tackle them and turn our focus elsewhere… To the magic of being alive, to the grace of nature, and to the areas where we are more fortunate than many others walking this planet.

I feel full today as I rest in the knowledge that I was privileged to turn a day older last month even though the aging process is somewhat daunting, that I am recently married though many do not have that opportunity, and that many people from around the world came to grace us with their presence and love. When I stop to think about it, I am full because I love my life and the people in it; even when things are not going according to plan.

Fullness in life is a perception and it is our choice as to how we choose to view our world. Moore spoke of being a champion for the make a wish foundation and the terminally ill children that really understood this concept, as they wanted the last days of their life to be full.

Just as it takes different amounts of food for individuals to feel full, it takes different events to remind us to be grateful. Yet we can choose to make daily gratitude a part of our ongoing commitments and by doing so, we shine the light on the things that really matter.

Try finding time each day to remind yourself that you have many reasons to feel grateful. Using a drop of Young Living Gratitude oil is a perfect choice to assist in seeing that fullness.

The power of emotion

If asked, most people would agree that having a happy life would be the ideal, yet most people are not clear on what happiness would look like or what it would take to make them happy in the first place. We first need to realize that happiness is not the final train stop where we can step out, grab our belongings, and remain indefinitely. And if it were, chances are we would not recognize this as “happiness”.

We need both light and shade in our lives to define the day- to -day moments that occur. When anxiety finally lifts and we feel joy return, we are able to see each emotion as separate.   Anger, sadness, and other so called negative emotions can help us to be clearer about what we don't want, learn what we need to do differently, and let us appreciate life when the emotional tide turns back the other way.  

Emotions can also show us the quality of our thinking. When we compare ourselves to others who are fortunate and focus on the things we do not have, we set ourselves up for negative thinking. “We are not good enough, we will never get ahead; we are not significant”. The longer we stay focused on this line of thinking the more these thoughts grow until we start feeling less than ideal. Try this test… next time you feel lousy, check in and see what thoughts have been dominating your mind. Try substituting them with something positive or distracting yourself completely to focus on something else… Your pets, children, garden, a hobby you love. Watch how your emotions change in tune with your dominant point of focus.

Many times we are not conscious of the quality of our thinking and we feel stuck in an emotional state that does not serve us. With conscious awareness and persistence we can change our focus and move into a preferred emotional state. When we sit unconsciously in a negative state of mind, this can have a profound affect on our emotions and quality of life.   In this case, Kinesiology and the use of pure grade essential oils can support us to return to a more balanced state of mind, body and emotion.

The amazing sense of smell

I recently learned some interesting information about the sense of smell and some of the products we use to enhance our lives and mask offensive odors.

The sense of smell is thought to be (like hearing) one of the last senses to leave our bodies upon death. It is the only sense, which bypasses the conscious mind and travels directly to our subconscious where memories and emotions lie waiting. I observed this first hand when I visited my mother a few years ago in the dementia ward where she resided in California for a few years. She had been in an almost catatonic state for many months and most of the family was uncertain as to what to do or say in her presence. When one of the nurses informed me about our sense of smell I had the ingenious idea to buy the fragrance she had lived in most of her life - Oscar De La Renta… I will never forget the day I walked in tentatively holding the medium sized bottle and sprayed a dash on a tissue then placed it on her slumping shoulder. Instantly her eyes flew open and her mouth moved into a childlike grin. It was truly amazing.

Smell brings forth both memories and feelings and can literally change our state of mind. We have all had the experience of being somewhere and smelling something only to be transported back to another place in time. It can happen that fast. We can choose to use this gift of smell when we are mentally fixated on something that does not serve us, when we are stressed or anxious, or when we just want to lift our mood.

Walk into the homes of many people and you will smell familiar scents: flowers, spices, beachside aromas – all created in a lab and brought into the home to enhance our quality of living. The interesting fact however is this; air fresheners undergo NO safety testing and many contain nasty chemicals such as Phthalates, which are known hormone disruptors and can be particularly dangerous to children. These products work by attacking the receptors in the nose and actually dulling our sense of smell! This can’t be good for us in the long run, of that I am certain.

Artificial scents exist in many of the products we use. Removing them from our environment is a smart move if we care about our health and one of the ways to do this is to be more aware about the personal care and household products you are using. We are living currently in a sea of chemicals, both inside and outside of our homes and the repercussions of this remain to be seen. Wherever possible replace items with chemical-free alternatives and use pure grade essential oils to provide the olfactory pleasure without the danger. It is easy to make your own deliciously scented cleaning products, bath products, and personal care items. Contact us to learn how you can replace the chemicals in your home and personal space.

Luckily our olfactory nerve cells actually regenerate every 30 – 60 days, which may explain why smell is one of the last senses to remain.

Am I Good Enough?

We live in a world that prompts us to feel not good enough. Daily we are bombarded by media messages telling us to eat super foods and morph our bodies to meet criteria imposed by celebrities like the Kardasians. At the same time ads for fast food fill prime time TV as reality shows expose the private lives of those wanting the experience. The messages we receive are mixed and it can be confusing to know exactly what will make us feel good for longer than a moment.

Growing up in California the pressure was on in many ways. It felt important to have a “beach perfect” body and to look my best to get attention from others. I worked out at the gym 6 days a week, used the cosmetics that promoted a youthful glow, and spent my money on designer clothes to make me feel beautiful. While I felt attractive and certainly turned some heads, I still felt that I was less than ideal.

I then turned my focus to my career and set out to make my mark in the world. I worked hard to increase my salary so I could also have the “perks” that came with success and to fill the nagging void that wouldn’t go away. I was able to buy things that I wanted including a new car and yet the happiness I found was short-lived and I still felt stuck. I would swing from moments of joy and excitement into questioning who I was and what exactly I was meant to be doing with my life.

Years later I married and had a child thinking that finally the missing piece to the puzzle of my life would come together and I would feel whole. While this worked in the short term and I was fulfilled and deeply grateful for my role as a mother, I still felt that something was missing in my life.

What was missing revealed itself to me as a purpose apart from looking good, being in love, making money, being a good person and a mom. It was a personal purpose or reason I was here on this planet taking up space. I set out to find this purpose and it took me many years yet knowing this finally gave my life meaning and made the ups and downs manageable. One of the things I also learned is that having a balance to my life was critical to keep all of the balls I had spinning in the air. Being a good mom, running a business with good values and service, being a good partner… To make it all happen I had to add my own needs into the equation and look at everything from a more holistic vantage point. I learned to make a daily practice out of finding balance between all of the important things in my life so one didn’t take over and topple the others.

The wisdom I have learned from my extra years on this planet is that no one thing can make us whole. That happiness is not a destination but a journey. That looking for satisfaction outside of ourselves is fleeting, and it is the wisdom that comes from within is what matters most.

One of the ways we can bring our inner wisdom into our awareness is through eliminating the busyness in our days and finding quiet time. Even 5 minutes can make a huge difference. Taking a stroll along the beach, sitting under a tree, playing with an animal, or lying down on the grass can help us disconnect from overwhelm and reconnect with ourselves. Taking time for us is not selfish but a form of self care. Without it we can become burned out and uninspired, even unhealthy. Discover what a balanced life might look like for you and get some assistance in making it a reality. Contact us at Igniowellnes.com.au