365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy

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Today I said my final goodbye …

Day 194

…and I did not shed a tear…

…as I handed over the keys to the house that our family have lived in for the past eleven years. We finished another chapter, ready to turn the page and begin anew.

I was not emotional as I said my goodbyes. For a moment I wondered why… In the past, I have been very emotional, often with big crocodile tears rolling down my cheeks! I realized that this time I felt different, because I knew that this day had been coming for more than a year.

I therefore prepared myself by soaking up for the last time the gorgeous surrounding that I have had the fortune to experience. Every season I knew would be the last with all that it had to offer and I have experienced it in its entirety.

I have seen my surroundings with new eyes and have been much more present. It has been very enriching and fulfilling to dive so completely into living life this way. Today, I feel complete with what I have had and where I have lived more so than any other place I have resided before.

I have learned that when we live to the fullest, there are no regrets in lost opportunities. It is easier to be grateful for what we have had, and also to let go and not try to hold on to things, when we fully appreciate and live out our experiences and what we have while we have it.

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Breathe life!

Day 88In search for inner peace

Breath is life. We all know that. But how much knowledge do we have about the quality of our breathing and the impact it has on our sense of energy, inner peace and wellbeing?

In the past two days I have shared two techniques; the relaxation response and visualization, which help our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to counter stress. Today I will share the power of breathing and the way it impacts our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Our breath has numerous functions. For example to allow oxygen to energize our body and remove toxins as we breathe out carbon dioxide. If our breath is shallow, our lungs cannot do their job and as a result will lack oxygen and we do not eliminate sufficiently toxins and waste products from the body.

Most of us do not pay much attention to our breath – as it works on automatic. Even though our breath operates without us actively having to control it, we still have a huge opportunity to influence the quality of our breathing.

Our breath is regulated by our autonomic nervous system (ANS) – which has two main divisions, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) that regulates our fight-and-flight response, and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) that operate to help our body to rest and digest.

A baby naturally breathes diaphragmatic, meaning into the belly. When we breathe correctly, our lungs inflate to the extent that the diaphragm expand and pushes down into our stomach. This has many positive functions, one of them is to stimulates the Vagus nerve, which runs inside our abdomen, and that contributes greatly to activate the PNS.

When we feel tense, afraid, anxious, angry or stressed, our breathing changes to meet the ‘perceived’ challenges of life. We often tighten our stomach muscles and allow for only thoracic breathing – meaning only in the chest. This shortened breath activates our SNS and prepares us to fight or flight. After years of living with an activated SNS, we loose our ability to relax, due to that we no longer naturally breathe diaphragmatically. Nervousness, anxiety, inner stress, worry, high blood pressure, digestive problems, cardiovascular disease, fatigue etc. caused by inadequate breathing.

We can heal our body and mind by returning back to breathing properly. First by becoming aware of how we breathe and then learn to control and deepen the breath when we need it. By learning some simple exercises, we can aid and support the PNS. There are various forms of yoga and meditation that focuses on breathing that can be very helpful in re-learning how to breathe properly.

I will later share with you some of the breathing exercises that I engage in and that has helped me to feel at peace.

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Enthusiasm for life – how sweet it is…

Day 77What makes you enthused about life?

I think there is a direct link between how enthusiastic we are, and how happy, energetic and alive we feel.

One can imagine that enthusiasm is something some people have, and others don’t have, by their personality trait. However, my belief is that we all can become more enthusiastic about life by deciding to open up more to our five senses; sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

We can transform by choice from a cool, detached, non-engaged attitude – or ‘sleepy’ or worried place, where we roam about the past and or future, rather than being in the present moment – by switching on our sensory organs and open up to a whole new and more fun and enthusiastic life. This would mean that we use our eyes to truly see all the beautiful things around us, use our ears to hear inspiring, moving, inspiring sounds, taste delicious good food and drinks, use our hands and body to touch and feel with our skin, and use our nose to detect numerous different pleasurable smells and scents.

We can be enthusiastic about so many things around us every day; such as seeing a beautiful painting in our home or at a museum; noticing with joy how the buds of a tree is beginning to poke out in spring; witnessing children playing in the street; meeting an old friend; or greeting our loved ones with joy when we see them coming home after a day away.

We can tune our ears into hearing beautiful music, birds chirping in springtime, someone singing, children’s laughter, and waves hitting the shore, the wind rattling a tree, or the warm voice of a loved one speaking.

We can use our taste buds to detect the hugely various flavors while trying new food, spices, and drinks or simply by fully enjoying one of our favorite delicious meals. By chewing more and keeping our food longer in the mouth, we will enhance the taste.

We can feel with our hands and body someone’s warm silky skin, the softness of nice fabric and the fur of a dog and cat, or the warmth of sunrays on our skin.

We can smell roses, food being prepared, someone’s perfume, or notice a special scent from the past that brings back old nice memories.

Can you feel the difference in your energy by just imagining using your senses?

How would it benefit you, if you switched on to your senses a little more? Why not try to pay a little extra attention this week, perhaps by tuning into one of your senses each day – and notice what difference that it makes to your enthusiasm and joy in life.

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Let’s get focused!

Day 75Many of us know how frustrating it can be when our mind is scattered and we find ourselves all over the place; beginning one task, and forgetting what that was, as we get distracted doing something else.

It can feel disheartening when we have loads to do, or are in a hurry and we can’t find our keys, phone, passport, credit card, or some clothes we want to wear, or we forget to do something important because we failed to prioritise.

A scattered mind is a clear sign that we are not grounded in our bodies. If you were asked for example, how you were breathing, or how your body was feeling this morning while you were looking for your keys or phone, you will most likely have no idea – because you were all “up in your head.”

The best way to get focused is to slow down your mind by “getting physical” through meditation, consciously slowing down your breath, exercising and engaging in some form of physical touch – such as giving or receiving warm hugs.

Removing tight time constraints by setting goals and planning your time and “speaking your mind;” having an open dialog with people you live and work with – also makes a difference.

To maintain a focused mind, it is key to be mindful about what we do, to do one thing at a time, and to finish what we start before we move onto the next thing. A clear plan and to do list (that we also use and check off) can make a big difference – provided we do not put too many things on that list. Eating hearty food/meals and maintaining an even blood sugar level throughout the day also ground and support our ability to have a calm and focused mind.