During this time of heightened emotions and information wars it’s easy to get “seriousness” fatigue. It’s important to focus more on what’s actually happening right now than what may happen in the future. Who is better at being present than a puppy! Ever optimistic and enthusiastic they are great role models. I love this quote;
Why my infatuation with dogs? Because Mary and I recently adopted Ralphie (a female named after my father-in-law who loved dogs), a mutt from Mississippi who instantly changed our lives and taught me many lessons. It is impossible not to be changed by unconditional love given so freely.
The most interesting change I’ve noticed in myself is that I have become more patient and accepting of things not going the way I see them in my mind’s eye. Ralphie’s actions dictate a lot of what we do. Walks, tummy rubs, naps- all at a leisurely pace that allows for more contemplation and appreciation of what’s right in front of me. It reminds me that connections, not material things or accomplishing more, are fundamental to a meaningful life! During the pandemic, most of us are spending more time connecting virtually on Zoom, facetime or on the phone. For me , those avenues just don’t cut it. Ralphie is all about connection- he won’t let us out of sight!
I am going to try and approach life with the mantra “What would Ralphie do? So far I’m going to try and;
-Treat every person I meet with excitement and love every time.
-Treat every meal as though it is the best food in the world!
-Examine and appreciate all things around me.
-Exercise every day but make sure to get lots of rest and recovery!
Please let me know any lessons you’ve learned from your pets! We can get through this together!
In Health, Dr Matt (and Ralphie)
On my way to the office this morning, I was struck by the thought that the “forced simplification” period we are living under is beneficial to me, my loved ones, and the planet as a whole. I choose to view it as a reset- time taken from the ever-accelerating treadmill that indicates a successful life, and use this found time to change myself. I am looking inside rather than outside to reflect on my life and start deciding what the future will look like.
During turbulent times, of which this “pandemic” qualifies, my default position is one of patience. Rather spending every minute studying the latest headline or sound bite and trying to make sense of it, I realize that there is a good chance we can never fully understand this time and the effect it will ultimately have on our daily lives. My calmness comes from my faith that humanity and our planet will survive and that my part in the outcome depends on my focusing on what I can control. What can I control? The same things I can control at any other time: What I put in my mouth, what thoughts I put in my mind, how I move, and my relationships with others. Being kind to ourselves and to others allows us to build resiliency and have a better chance of staying healthy. The activities contribute most to my feeling of being in control include: taking more time to eat quality foods, experimenting with different forms of exercise, and spending more time with my wife Mary and others in my quarantine orbit. I can also control how I come out of this interesting time. Do I hope for a return to LBTP (Life Before the Pandemic) or do I envision a BLAP Better Life After Pandemic)?
Since I believe that these pandemics are likely to occur in the future at regular intervals, I choose to think that we can learn and grow individually and societally to become more fully functional. This time has revealed many cracks in our way of life and we have choices: Continue allowing the cracks to deepen OR practice Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery to make it more beautiful and valuable.
Let’s repair our broken places and heal each other!
This is a fantastic graphic circulating that offers us a road map of emotions we can follow to ensure that we come out of this corona virus episode stronger physically, mentally, emotionally, both as individuals and and as a society. By employing certain habits, we give ourselves the best chance to not only survive, this time but actually thrive.
Besides the CDC guidelines of social distancing, hand washing, etc. here are some ideas to help you;
- Focus on your mental health. Decrease your intake of fear inducing news and replace it with meditation, breathing exercises, or affirmations. Bring your thoughts to the present moment and what you can control in the moment. Don’t live in the future.
- Give your body what it needs to be healthy- fresh whole foods that energize the body and mind. Take quality supplements that boost the immune system and avoid sugar and processed foods that can rob you of your vitality.
- Move your body regularly. Movement energizes the body and also boosts your immunity. Try to get out in the fresh air as much as possible.
- Realize that we are all in this adventure together and we are all doing the best we can with the tools we have. Don’t judge others or yourself but reach out and help as many people as you can. Help others and you help yourself!
The times of most personal growth in a lifetime are the challenging ones. They get us out of our comfort zone and cause us to examine our lives allowing for great change. I look forward to seeing the world we will all create out of this time!
Peace and Love, Dr Matt
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!” Ferris Bueller
As my father in law Ralph used to tell me, as you get older time not only goes by faster but it accelerates. Boy, have the last 6 weeks proved his theory right. The world as we know it has changed dramatically overnight!
Americans went from fat and happy, (but suffering none-the-less from affluenza), to being fat and fearful. Most of us had not only enough, but often too much – dwellings crammed with stuff, more than enough food to eat, and multiple ways to spend our leisure time. Then we were confronted with scarcity- empty shelves, lost jobs, and nothing to do but sit at home and stare at the walls (oh yeah, and our screens filled with negativity). Of course this situation caused a lot of anxiety and discomfort.
While at first the situation seemed completely negative, there are glimmers of hope. People finding creative ways to connect and help each other, people finally slowing down and letting go, people beginning to question our hectic, “more, more, more” lifestyle.
Unfortunately the fear of scarcity is occupying the majority of people’s thought patterns, the news cycle, and our conversations. At times like this, it is important to remember the world is naturally abundant and take some steps to develop an abundance mindset. How to do this? Here are a few things to try;
- Get out in nature. Notice the abundance of the trees coming to life, the abundant sunshine, and the fresh air. These things do not stop because of Covid-19.
- Say abundance affirmations like “”I am connected to the endless abundance of the Universe”
- Be grateful for what you already have. Find books or clothes you’ve neglected and start using them. Appreciate the food and things you have- don’t worry about what you don’t have.
This is a temporary situation! Remember that the Universe does not allow us to move forward until we honor where we are currently. Let’s take this time to make changes within ourselves so that we can better impact others when we come out of this!
In Chiropractic, DR Matt
The “stay at home” orders many of us are under is in many cases amplifying the stress in peoples lives.
Where to begin? Our world seems to be changing at a rapid and accelerating pace as the Coronavirus affects all aspects of our lives. The sheer amount of information we are exposed to, and the different viewpoints of what this information means, makes it extremely difficult to feel comfortable with our own thoughts about this pandemic. This unknown, or not knowing, is causing massive amounts of anxiety and fear in many people.
During this trying time it’s important to concentrate on the things we can control ourselves- our thoughts, our actions, and our words. Here are a few strategies to try;
Be careful with your words- both spoken to others and to yourself. Be compassionate, positive, and supportive. One example is the term social distancing. Since I first heard the term it struck me the wrong way. Our society needs more connections, not isolation. A better way to express this important concept for “flattening the curve” is Healthy or Compassionate spacing. Please watch the attached video clip for a more in depth talk on this.
Commit to moving your body every day. Exercise is a great stress reliever and immune booster, especially if you have the opportunity to do it outside in the fresh air and hopefully sunshine. It’s something we have control of. Call me on my cell or call the office if you want some ideas to get started or keep motivated. Here is a 10 minute self care video that easy and actually fun to do.
Quiet the mind and practice breathing techniques or meditation. They can help quiet the mind, bring you into the present moment, and help you realize that it will all be fine in the end. I have benefited greatly from Pranayama or yogic controlled breathing. Please check out this short video. Even taking 3-5 deep breaths every time you feel stressed out can help!
May the peace in your heart become the peace in your thoughts, may the peace in your thoughts become the peace in your actions, may the peace in your actions become the peace in the world!
“The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this” Ryan Holiday
This post is being written on Friday the thirteenth, on a day when the Coronavirus seems to be spreading exponentially and changing our lives by the minute. Of course while making my bulletproof coffee this morning the power went out! Was this just a regular outage or was the Coronavirus hastening the end of the world? Rather than letting the worst possible scenario dominate my thoughts I practiced some Pranayama, or yogic breathing exercises to calm my mind. It worked like a charm and by the time the lights came back on I was focused on what I could control- my thoughts and my reactions to events.
It has been an interesting week watching how people are reacting to the latest challenge before us. Some people are going on with their lives as normally as possible and others are putting their lives on hold. The uncertainty of life has been magnified by things we can’t control- schools and businesses closing, the constant hype by the media, and the stock market reacting to people’s fears. It can seem overwhelming.
However, this can also be a time of positive growth for people and our society as a whole. A forced reduction of busyness can give us time to work on ourselves physically and mentally to build health and resiliency. I believe that the most important thing we can do for our health is to increase our connections rather than become more isolated. Stay in touch with loved ones, let friends and neighbors know you are available to help and keep an eye out for people in need. For yourself take the time needed to move your body and find strategies to calm the mind and focus on what’s truly important. This is a great post about being calm in a crisis that may be of help. Here is another great one courtesy of my daughter;
What a great opportunity to practice;
Practice surrender to what we cannot control.
Practice non-attachment to “the way things normally are” and become more present.
Practice yoga and breathing at home.
Practice gratitude, stillness, meditation, introspection.
Practice compassion for all beings everywhere…and use our privilege to help others.
Feed your body whole foods and increase your supplements to help boost your immune system. Get your alternative health treatments- Chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, and massage can help your body be stronger! Importantly take precautions to limit your exposure- wash your hands often and avoid large gatherings.
Try not to be scared but be vigilant in your efforts to keep your mind calm and your body strong and powerful! Remember – everything is temporary!
However long the current “health crisis” that is the coronovirus lasts one thing is certain; there will be another health scare coming to a media outlet sooner rather than later. How can a person hope to stay sane and healthy in this climate. Rather than being reactionary it’s important to develop life long habits that support our bodies innate intelligence ability to maintain homeostasis, or balance in the face of a challenging outside environment.
Here are some strategies to boost your bodies ability to stay healthy:
- Reduce your exposure to media coverage of the outbreak which can cause anxiety This can cause decreased immune function among other things. Try this – every time you hear the word coronavirus think- my body is powerful and know how to stay well! Replace fear with faith!
- Wash your hands. Most people recognize the importance of this simple action in avoiding illness. We only need to look at the 19th century and the impact that hand washing had on the death rates in maternity wards to see it’s impact.
- Eat well, stay hydrated, and get the proper sleep. These fundamental pillars of health gain even more importance during times of stress. Reduce your sugar and processed foods intake, up the veggies, good fats and protein, and drink lots of purified water. Perhaps most importantly take steps to get the best sleep possible. Give your body what it needs!
- Quiet your mind with mindfulness techniques, yoga or breathing exercises. These techniques support both the body and the mind which can help reduce fears and concern about things that are out of your control. Have faith that if you do your best it will be enough!
- Utilize natural tools and practitioners to support your immune system and overall health. Chiropractors, Naturopaths, body workers and life coaches, among others, can help you on your journey to better health and mental clarity. Please comment or contact my office if you need any referrals.
- Go outside! Take a walk, do a stretch, or do your breathing exercises in the fresh air. Listen to nature and be reminded of the abundance all around us!
- Prepare for unexpected inconveniences that may arise if your work closes (are you equipped to work from home), schools close, or other disruptions occur. Reach out to your neighbors and your support system and plan to help each other no matter what happens!
Overall don’t panic and focus on the things in your control. What you think, what you put in your mouth, and how you move. You have more control than you are led to believe!
In Chiropractic, Dr Matt Leonard