The Ultimate TO Do List for Total Health and Transformation
Last week we reveled the Ultimate Not To Do List. This week I want to talk about what we can do to make our total health better, the Ultimate TO DO list!
You can eat for health, exercise, eat lots of brain foods, and all of that can provide great benefit. But when we ignore our mind, our soul, and our inner workings, it can sabotage all of the healthful choices we make for our physical body.
Many people only think of mental or spiritual health when they are in crisis, but learning to do little tune ups throughout the day can go a long way to keep us healthy.
In chiropractic college, we examined the three main causes of dis-ease:
All of these impact our health, but thoughts hold a special place, because they can either sabotage or reinforce our other choices. It is the thoughts, and the state of being that either clings to or releases the thoughts, that holds the key to experiencing our health potential.
Let’s take care of ourselves, our whole selves. This is something I work on daily, and you might find it beneficial as well. I’ve noticed that the people I work with who do these things are happier, healthier and more successful overall.
You can think of it as a long term investment. And, You are an important investment.
Here’s the Ultimate To-Do-List:
1. Daily relaxation and quiet time.
It sounds so simple, but it’s not always something people make time for on a daily basis.
In fact, mostly people operate under a state of urgency, and pay less attention to the importance of quiet time and introspection. Yet, time spent on relaxation, meditation and self-awareness is really time earned. These bring benefits to every areas of our lives, including time management and physical health.
We can get into a grind of wake up, work all day, run from one busy task to another, and drop into bed exhausted, yet unable to sleep. You might take sleep aids, and then do it all over again the next day.
I’m sure you never envisioned yourself as a hamster on wheel, yet this is what life becomes for so many people.
Consider taking five. Or even ten. Take anything you can to get quiet and relax.
When we don’t take time to relax, we affect our body and brain chemistry. We get used to running on a state of energetically empty, and then use foodless foods and chemical substances to keep going.
Putting our bodies through daily stress without pause, really takes a toll on our mental and physical health. Something simple you could do is intentionally breathe, multiple times throughout the day. It takes just moments!
You’ll find you’re more refreshed, at ease, and you’ll even be more pleasant to be around when you’re finished!
2. Daily reflection on your thoughts, patterns and behaviours.
We listen to those around us, to advertising, radio, Facebook, but do we take the time to really focus on our own inner voice? We know that thoughts develop into behavior. Repetitive thoughts change the landscape and biochemistry of the brain. It really helps to check in and observe what we are thinking, rather than being a passive bystander to the shenanigans of the mind.
Before you start your day, become aware of your thoughts. Are your thoughts filled with worry? Are you telling yourself it’s going to be difficult? Are you telling yourself you don’t have what it takes to be a good mother? Are you thinking, ”I’m so busy” or “There’s not enough time”?
Noticing your thoughts is the first step in freeing yourself from them. Our willingness to develop this aspect of our inner lives can reflects much of how we feel about ourselves—our self-respect, self-honour, self-love.
If we don’t check in and relax, negative thought patterns can develop into unhealthy habits and eventually health challenges.
3. Allow ourselves and others the freedom to make their own choices.
Oh, this can be a big one!
So often, we feel good about ourselves and others when things go the way we think they “should.” Or when people behave in ways that please us. When they don’t do what we want or expect, we feel they have somehow wronged us. We might even think they have changed or begin to question the relationship.
If we consider how it feels to do something just because someone else wants or expects us to, it leaves us with the sense of pressure, heaviness and ultimately suppression of self.
That experience goes against our nature and intelligence.
You want and deserve the freedom to choose what is right for you without judgement. Perhaps, granting others that freedom is the doorway to our own.
4. Let go of the need to change others or blame others.
When we try to change others, we waste emotional energy. Change only comes from within, and trying to be someone else’s driving force to be different is exhausting. Not just for ourselves, but for the other person as well.
Of course we can inspire change through our actions, but controlling another person’s change is impossible. It inevitably leads to disappointment, mistrust, and even broken relationships.
How often are we ruled by “I really should…” and obligation, rather than what we really want or need to do? How often do we say “they should have…”?
When we learn to let go of trying to control someone else’s actions and intentions, we let go of how their actions affect us. Can you imagine how you would feel being completely directed by you and your own life force? That you’d never need to say “they made me angry” ever again?
Blaming someone else, or even blaming yourself, casts judgement where no judgement is needed. If you blame others often, look inside yourself and see where the need to blame is coming from. If you blame yourself for everything, even if it’s not your fault, consider what situations and insecurities lead you to apologize and take responsibility for others’ negative actions.
5. Get the proper tools and guidance to see more clearly and make better choices.
We are all learning. And there are times when we can use support.
6. See how you are the common denominator in every area of your life and relationships.
The one thing that is present in all of your experiences, your reactions and your relationships is you. And so it true for me, and for all of us.
Ultimately, the only one responsible for the quality of our own life is ourselves.
For example, If we repeatedly have interactions where we feel disrespected, or often feel taken for granted, that is a pattern. And it reflects some kind of blocked energy within our own selves.
It’s never about the other person. No matter how much we want it to be. If we are triggered repeatedly, it’s about ourselves. This doesn’t mean other people’s behaviour is necessarily appropriate, it just means our own state and healing is our own responsibility.
You are the one continuous thread in your own life.
7. Become very aware of thoughts without engaging with them.
Instead of doing the tango with the many thoughts that arise in the mind, it can helpful to just become aware of them. See them for what they are.
Intense questioning and forensic evaluation of thought can lead us down the rabbit hole of “why.” “Why do I think this?” or “Why did this happen to me?” Oftentimes why doesn’t matter, but it does take up a lot of energy and time.
Awareness, however is just that—being aware. It’s noticing, being the observer. Noticing you are not your thoughts. Seeing that thoughts come, and thoughts go. The more we believe our thoughts, the more attention we give them, the stronger they grow.
Simple awareness allows us to just SEE, without attachment or reaction. It is the seeing that sets us free.
8. Replace negative thoughts with positive or more useful and supportive ones.
This is often called the Law of Substitution.
For this to work, it is best to make a list, and have it on hand, of thoughts that really support you.
So, if you look in the mirror, and the thought that tends to arise is “Ugh, look at those fat thighs!” replace it with “My thighs are healthy, strong and support me all day. Thank you beautiful thighs.”
As soon as you become aware of an unhelpful thought coming to mind, swap it out for something that delights you.
Another way to do this is to focus on your breathing or your heartbeat. Listen to the birds singing or the sound of the rain falling. Feel the warm sunshine embracing your face. Intently focus on the refreshing mint scent of your toothpaste.
Basically, you are either tuning in to the here and now, or swapping an energy-sucking thought for an energizing one.
9. Realise all change is an inside job.
People often find they repeat the same experiences, even though the scenery may look different.
You can sit through 1,000 seminars, join a gym, start a diet plan, and yet not see real change.
It’s not that these things necessarily don’t work. But they are just external frameworks to assist you on the journey. Real change begins in the mind, starting with your thoughts.
Real change begins within you.
But…you might find that no matter how hard you have tried, you can’t change. The good news is, you don’t have to change in order for change to happen.
You can begin by letting go of what you are not through simple meditation and relaxation.
In a world where we value a certain type of education, it seems strange to practise forgetting what we know. But that is essentially what happens when you relax your mind and let go of the external.
What is not you falls away, leaving your true, spiritual nature to shine. Your energy gets freed out in the process, and…
Change happens. But it must happen from within you.
10. Come to understand, in some way, this intelligence within yourself.
We all have different ways of describing or naming “it.” Some may use the word instinct, while for others it’s intuition. It can be described as intelligence, the self, spirit or even just life.
The word can never capture the truth of it, but the important thing is the recognition that there is some spark that lies within each one if us, and it is always working to bring about the very best for us.
Developing the art of looking within can help us see that everything need is already within us. It is not something that can be understood intellectually. But it does bring a sense of wholeness, real psychological and emotional health, and true security.
People often ask me if they should do ____. And most often my response is “What do you think?” But the ‘“you” is the intelligence within, that already has the perfect answer.
Relying on what’s inside of you creates real health, integrity and self-esteem.
It may be last on this list, but cultivating your relationship with your Self, is probably the first and most important relationship to develop. And it is what creates lasting and vibrant health.
Here is a tool that can help you develop your relationship with yourself:
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