Namaste & welcome to another installment of cure-ated care & contemplation – my weekly round-up of self-care and contemplative resources.
Self Care: Keep a gratitude journal & try a walking meditation.
Did you know gratitude can help improve your sleep, improve your psychological and physical health, and reduce aggression? If you can feel better, attract new relationships and have more empathy in the meantime, all by saying, “Thank you,” why wouldn’t you hop on the gratitude train? Jotting down the best parts of your day right before drifting off to dreamland lowers stress and brings on the relaxation vibes. As Arianna Huffington says, ““Gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions. It’s like white blood cells for the soul, protecting us from cynicism, entitlement, anger, and resignation.” Keep a pretty gratitude journal on your bedside table with a nice pen – there are tons of great options out there, and incorporate 15 minutes for journaling into your bedtime ritual. Check out my gratitude journal template here to start feeling the benefits!
It’s much easier to rest your awareness on the body when your body is in motion. If you’re feeling particularly antsy, it could be that you need to move your body and reconnect with the earth. Check out Thich Nhat Hanh’s guide for walking meditation, and see for yourself: While walking, practice conscious breathing by counting steps. Notice each breath and the number of steps you take as you breathe in and as you breathe out. Don’t try to control your breathing. Allow your lungs as much time and air as they need, and simply notice how many steps you take as your lungs fill up and how many you take as they empty, mindful of both your breath and your steps. The link is the counting.
Contemplation: Cultural humility & living to 100.
What is cultural humility, you ask? Cultural humility is about looking deeper and discovering the complexity of our cultural inheritance, the values we learned about ourselves and about others. It’s discovering what we’ve internalized and embodied from our families of origins, how we grew up, and our cultural traditions, social identities, life circumstances, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Cultural humility means uncovering the ways in which that cultural inheritance impacts how we see ourselves and relate to others. Basically, it’s going back behind the veil of ignorance in order to see all the ways society has cloaked us, and everyone we know, in constructed identities, very much outside of our control. Luckily, Buddha is here to help: Buddhism is all about laying down our ego selves and finding our true state of connection with all things.
Have you seen the Ted Talk on blue zones? Dan Buettner studies these communities whose elders keep kickin’ to record-setting ages. In addition to treating the elderly with respect and eating a healthy diet, Dan says the people you surround yourself with has a tremendous impact on your longevity and wellness. Gallup and Sharecare measured well-being across the U.S. – see how your city stacks up on indicators like fitness, community, purpose, financial, and social well-being. Would you want to live past 100? The lifestyle changes you may have thought could get you there probably don’t matter as much as these.
That’s it for this week, Leaners! Until next time, be well & take gentle self care.