You know, it’s these stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that get elevated and just fuel the insomnia, anxiety and that difficulty performing at our jobs that slows us down. You know, many of us have been programmed to think that self-care is not allowed. But I ask you honestly: how can you give of yourself authentically when your own gas tank is on empty? Our soul is a vessel and if we give from a place of empty, we’re just passing on this fear and stress and people around us can sense that.
But when we fill our own lives with love and a sense of compassion, we not only feel peace but we share that with everyone around us. So now that we have calmed down our minds and our bodies from the stress response, we’re going to feel a little less angry and try to find happiness in our lives.
So how can we be happy?
This is the next step of mindful living: Adopt an attitude of gratitude. You know, clinical research shows that no matter how much material wealth or even high-heeled shoes we accumulate, this does not lead to happiness. Happiness in people is sustained by one thing universally and that’s having an attitude of gratitude. So think in giving thanks my own blessings will multiply.
It is amazing how the brain works. When we focus on what we’re grateful for, we’re actually training our brains to focus on what’s positive in the world.
So how can we start?
Tonight, when you’re going to bed, take a moment and think of the three or five things that happened today that you’re truly grateful for. This is how we start to dim the negativity.
So now we have calmed down the stress response in our minds and our bodies and adopted an attitude of gratitude, it’s going to feel a lot more peaceful to sit and be still in meditation.
This leads to the next step of mindful living: Be Still. How many of you have a moment in your day to be still? If you don’t think, so I’m going to show you how. Breathe. And if you need a reminder to disconnect from social media, hashtag breathe.
You know, with the advances in neuroscience and neural imaging, we can see in real life the improvement of the structure and the function of the brain when we sit down to meditate. Meditation is as simple as consciously connecting to your inhalations and your exhalations. This is how we modulate the autonomic nervous system turning off the stress response and promoting relaxation.
And when we’re sitting in relaxation we can connect to inspiration, and that inspiration may come in the form of maybe a childhood dream or even the next step to take in your own career or personal life.
You know, I remember when I was sitting in meditation, I connected to this joyful feeling that I once experienced sitting in Mrs. Reed’s seventh grade English class. Mrs. Reed was that teacher who fostered my love for communication. You know, I knew as a little girl I want to write and speak for a living. So breathe, and ask yourself: when you were a child, what did you want to do when you grow up? Yeah, we’re each here to live a purpose in this world and our dreams and our desires will guide us on this path to live this purpose.
You don’t have to see top of the mountain of your dreams to start on this path. Breathe! And ask yourself what is the first step: follow your intuition and please don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. You have to believe that you are on the right path even if you don’t know where the path is going.
You know, my initial steps did not make rational sense at all for someone that’s a physician: Yoga teacher training, traveling the world, learning meditation, writing a blog — and yet today I stand here literally almost four years to the date of waking up from life-saving surgery finally connected to the purpose that little Romie had in her heart over 25 years ago.
You will, in your life, reach a fork in the world. When you do, don’t panic. Stop and breathe! When you reach that path of your purpose, you will look back and realize that everything good and bad and even devastating that’s happened happened for a reason. Everything in your life connects and you — only you had the answers in your heart all along.
So breathe! You’re alive. What are you going to do about it?