We are interconnected. And whether we shake hands or hold hands matters not. Just like the delicately woven spider web, there is a filament, a very fine thread that connects us all. Never has it been more apparent than now that everything we do affects another living thing, be it a human, an animal or our planet. This moment in time is an opportunity for us to rise up and to rethink the way that we’ve been doing things.
And from where I’m sitting, I see many, many people rising to the occasion. Local leaders, educators, small business operators, and everyday folks working on the fly to come up with new and innovative ideas! As Deepak Chopra said, “Even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might never have imagined.”
This is one more reason to behold the power that we each possess! I am referring to the power of the organ that is the supercomputer running the show- our brain! We have hardly unleashed the full power of our brain, but science is beginning to show us that we are capable of so much more!
So what can you do during this tumultuous time of fear and uncertainty? How can you support your brain and actually harness it for healing and growth? Never has there been a time when self-care has been more important! The self-care that we refer to when we talk about The Four Seeds of Self-Care- sleep, nutrition, exercise, and meditation.
“Our individual well-being is intimately connected both with that of all others and with the environment within which we live.... Our every action, our every deed, word, and thought, no matter how slight or inconsequential it may seem, has an implication not only for ourselves, but for all others, too.” Dalai Lama
It is more important than ever to make sure that you are eating as many fruits and vegetables to support your brain and your immune system. We now have the opportunity to be at home and cook real food! And with the extra time that many of us have at home now, maybe even plant a garden and grow your own food! There was a time, not that long ago when lots of folks gardened. Gardening is a wonderful healing activity that most kids gravitate to because they like to get dirty!
Most of us had schedules that were exhausting to just look at, let alone the actual running around and completing the activities! As disappointing as it is for many of these activities to have been put on hold, we can direct this time and energy into walks, hikes and other ways of moving our body to support our mental and physical health. Exercising pumps oxygen to our brain, which leads to neurogenesis- or the production of neurons. This production of neurons in certain parts of the brain helps to protect against dementia and leads to better brain plasticity and learning, as well as releasing neurotransmitters that help to elevate mood! Think about that!
The science of sleep and brain health has made great strides in recent years. There are now numerous studies on the benefits of sleep and exactly what is happening to our brain while we are sleeping. There are some great books and podcasts on the subject, one being Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD. He explains in layman’s terms exactly what’s going on in our brain while we sleep. Needless to say, there are some fantastic findings that should help you let go of the idea that there are many things that are more important than sleep. In today’s busy society being productive or spending time binge-watching the most popular series has become much sexier to talk about!
Meditation is another tool that supports brain health and your immune system. So many people are put off by this word. I know I once was. But over time meditation is becoming less of an enigma and something simpler and more tangible. Sit. Be still. Breathe. Repeat a word. Take a walk. Notice. These simple ideas are easier to grasp and a great starting point. And thanks in part to technology meeting the wellness movement many more folks are being introduced to the idea and different ways to meditate via some Apps like Headspace and Calm. Whatever you decide to start with, just begin. Keep it small and start with two to five minutes. At first, that may seem like an eternity, but I promise over time you will find it easier and notice the positive effects that meditation has on your mental and physical health.
Having the clarity and peace of mind that things will turn out alright is something that we need to hold onto. So many things are changing so quickly. But meditation can be that peace of mind in all the craziness. I think Deepak Chopra sums it up perfectly- “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside you.” Breathe. Take a few minutes to get quiet. Let that quiet give you clarity and direction.
With Love & Gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel