In These Times

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In These Times, most of us grew up believing that the more you sacrifice, the bigger the reward.

That is not true today. Nor is it true that the harder we work, the more successful we will be. With those mindsets, it’s easy to neglect ourselves and create burnout. When we’re busy and overwhelmed, don’t sacrifice your personal right to be selfish.

woman-maskWe are social creatures, and if hanging out with friends makes you feel like you’re slacking, you need to learn to live in the moment. Henri Frederic Amiel says, “Man becomes man only by his intelligence, but he is man only by his heart.”

Living in the moment keeps you personable, kindly and enthusiastic. Telling someone who is yelling to “calm down” doesn’t usually work, but the following simple whole-body method can return you to the present almost instantly.

We can teach the brain new and positive ways to respond to anxiety and stress. The CALM practice given to us by Pesi is a whole-body method that can help regulate the mind, body and take you into the present, by focusing on the chest, arms, legs, and mind.

Use this exercise:
1.) Start in a comfortable sitting position and close your eyes.
2.) Concentrate on your chest. Do you feel any sensations? Notice your heartbeat. Does your chest feel tight or loose?
3.) Squeeze the muscles in your chest. Hold for a few seconds, then relax. Notice the differences you feel in your chest and heart rate.
4.) Concentrate on your arms. Do they feel tight or tense? Are your shoulders relaxed? What about your hands? Are your hands in fists or open?
5.) Squeeze all the muscles in your arms, shoulders and hands. Hold for a few seconds and then relax. Notice the difference you feel in your arms and shoulders.
6.) Concentrate on your legs. Do they feel tight or tense? Is there any tension or nervous movement? Are your feet resting comfortably on the floor?
7.) Squeeze all the muscles in your legs and feet. Hold for a few seconds and then relax. Notice the difference you feel in your legs and feet.
8.) Concentrate on your mind. How is the quality of your thoughts and emotions?
9.) Take a minute to listen to your brain, then clear it and open it up for outside communications.
10.) Finish by checking in with your body in general. Do you feel calmer? Do you feel more in the present?

Taking care of ourselves is usually the first thing to go when we’re stressed and overloaded with daily tasks. That only makes things worse for us. We need to calm down to be productive. If you look good and your mind is free from babble and worries, you feel good. If you feel good, you will be more fruitful. Much is out of our control today. It is true, to expand our universe, we need to keep expanding our mind. It is useless to worry so much about what we cannot change. Change is about growth in our heart. When we take care of our heart, we are more open to joy and wellness.

Many of us may be thinking, “What happened to the good old days when life was better?” It is true, nowadays our men are confused. Our women are overloaded. Voters feel hopeless. Politicians are trapped in greed. Children are afraid. Our communities are overrun with those who do not respect the life or property of others, and now unregistered guns are like toys made of plastic. We’re also finding the blue oceans turning red, killing rather than sustaining life. Even Mother Nature is angry, turning her bounty into passageways of what hell must be like. But, the biggest problem, is overloading. With all these social pressures, we find it hard to concentrate and make good moral decisions.

Another different kind of excess today is technology overuse. According to researchers, 26 percent of Americans are online constantly. Our diversions have turned into a modern disease. Of course, a dull and agitated mind can become a potential threat to our own self, as well as anyone who crosses our path. Is Facebook trying to manipulate us like some say? We have lost the ability to trust. The World Health Organization also classified gaming disorder as a mental health condition. And, did you know that this technology overuse stunts our intellectual growth and potential?

Another problem is that we are eating ourselves into the grave. How many of us eat in front of the television? It is hard to digest when we’re agitated and angry. Cancer is everybody’s stalker right now. It hides in all we desire. Man is more than a victim to his environment. We are voyagers, exploring new ways to view the world, sing and dance. We are more than hate and revenge. We are more than fear and frolic. We are creative individuals who must keep faith that the universe has prevailed for millions of years, and so will man.

In truth, we are suffering no more than in the past, just differently. If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment. Look around at what your missing. Share your kindness. Care about others. Enjoy children. Sing and be sung to. Music is healing. Don’t forget our domesticated animals, like dogs and cats who can teach us how real unconditional love makes life worth living.

We must remember, we’re not alone in misery and misfortunes always pass. Our greatest songs are still unsung. I’d like to turn the clock back to times when we didn’t lock doors and a handshake was good enough. But, giving up on faith in mankind is not an option. We are, however, brave to avoid doing what we know to be wrong. One of my favorite quotes is by Charles Dickens who wrote in a faraway era, and it still holds true, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…” and, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

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