Consciousness

Becoming Dis-ease Free: 7 Steps in 7 Days to Greater Well-being

As a life-long New Yorker, this short piece is inspired by what feels like for so many of us, the speediness of life. Life feels full and busy, and before we know it, saplings have become full-grown trees, children have become adults, parents have become grandparents, and people known to us have passed on. And in the apparent fullness and busyness of our lives, it may often seem that we just don’t have enough time.

I’m here with to counter these notions: that, rather, we always have enough time, and in fact, we can expand the amount of time we have, with little acts of self-care. And these little acts of self-care can only lead to greater health, and to becoming what I call “dis”-ease free. And these little acts of self-care can take literally, just minutes. That’s how easy they are and how quickly they can transform us—our thoughts, our emotions, our physiology, and our lives.

What follows is my 7 day, 7 step recipe for greater health. And it only takes 3 minutes a day.

Hoping you’ll find it interesting and helpful, and perhaps even feel moved to experiment with my suggestions.

But first, a little aside on greater health and becoming “dis”-ease free—what it’s all about:
Greater health isn’t about becoming free of physical symptoms or physical disease, about becoming free of emotional suffering or relieving pain in any way. Rather it’s simply about having peace of mind, no matter what.

Greater health is peace of mind.

No matter what’s going on. Physically, with our bodies. Emotionally, with our feelings. With the circumstances and situations in our lives. And in life. No matter what.

Let’s face it, we’re all going to leave our bodies. We’re all going to die. Some of us with a bang, others of us with a whimper. And some of us face circumstances and situations that can cause us deep pain, deep suffering.

The only solution to weathering these experiences of our lives, of finding solace in any storm, or even discovering the gifts of illness, dying and death, is to cultivate a way to deal with it all, no matter what.

And that way is to cultivate a path to peace of mind. And in fact, it’s peace of mind that’s the primary ingredient for healing all that ails us—health-wise and otherwise.

So now, here are my 7 Steps in 7 Days to Greater Health, to Peace of Mind. And all you need is 3 minutes a day.

 

Day 1, Step 1: STOP TO PAUSE AND BREATHE

By breathing, and specifically, belly breathing, we can instantaneously turn our relaxation system on. Gentle, slow abdominal breathing turns on the parasympathetic nervous system. That’s the system needed for rest, repair, rejuvenation and healing. Our mind is calmed. Our emotions are balanced. And our physical body relaxes. Peace in the body, and peace of mind.

How to do it: Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, stop to pause. Close your eyes. And breathe. Allow your belly to gently expand on the inhale and return on the exhale. Soften any holding in your face, jaw and throat; any holding in your neck, shoulders, upper back. Scan your whole body, from head to toe, and release any sense of tension or holding. Continue to belly breathe.

Continue for 3 minutes. It’s as simple as that.

 

Day 2, Step 2: MEDITATE

Meditation can be the single most powerful tool that we have for health and well-being.

Here’s why: we suffer not because of the circumstances and situations in our lives. Rather, we suffer because of how we think and feel about the circumstances and situations in our lives.

Meditation can change how we think and feel about the circumstances and situations in our lives. In fact, science has now shown us that meditation affects robust changes in our mental processes. It changes pathways and connections in the brain: how we process experiences; how we think and feel about things. Not to mention, meditation has a direct impact on our physical health—the immune system, genes that control aging, and the nervous system, to name a few. All effects that support rest, repair, rejuvenation and healing. More peace in the body. And peace of mind.

And if you think you can’t meditate. If you think your mind is too busy—if you think you have no time—yes, you can. It’s not about not having thoughts or taming the monkey mind. It’s merely being present with what’s going on.

How to do it: Find a quiet place. Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Start as in step 1, with gentle belly breathing. Focus your awareness on the breath. When thoughts and feelings and physical sensation arise, just observe them.

Continue for 3 minutes. It’s as simple as that.

 

Day 3, Step 3: CHECK IN WITH FEELINGS


Being aware of feelings, without judgment, eases tension in both the mind and the body. It’s just another form of meditation—on what’s going on internally.

And the impact on our health is huge. Research has proven so. Repressing feelings can cause disease. Bearing witness to feelings and releasing them can heal disease. Another simple and powerful tool for cultivating peace of mind.

How to do it: Check in with how you’re feeling. Are you calm or stressed? Angry, sad or fearful? At peace or ill at ease? Whatever you’re feeling, allow the feelings without judgment. Just observe and name them.

Using the breath and stilling the mind, steps 1 and 2, can help you to connect to the feelings inside.

Continue for 3 minutes. It’s as simple as that.

 

Day 4, Step 4: BE HERE NOW. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS IN EVERYDAY LIFE


Multi-tasking, and mental and/or physical activity without rest drain both our minds and our bodies. In fact, non-stop mental activity is often more draining than physical activity.

Cultivating presence turns on the parasympathetic nervous system and sets the stage for rest, repair, rejuvenation and healing.

The more present we can be, the more in the moment we can be, wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, it’ll all feel easier, and be easier. More time and space for cultivating peace of mind.

How to do it: Be present. Be here now. As you read these words. And as you go about your day, wherever you are. If you’re on line at the grocery store, on hold on the phone, in a conversation. Stop, and be present. Just be on the line. Just be on hold. Just be in the conversation. Listen. Be present. Be here now.

Again, using the breath and stilling the mind, steps 1 and 2, can help you to be present wherever you are. It’s often our disconnect from our feelings that keeps us from being present. So, step 3, checking in with how you’re feeling, can help you to be present, wherever you are.

Continue for 3 minutes. It’s as simple as that.

 

Day 5, Step 5: PLAY. FIND YOUR INNER KID. PRACTICE SILLY

Play is the creative whimsy of kids. Of puppies and kittens.

Just like breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and being here now, it turns on the feel good chemicals in the brain, and turns on the relaxation nervous system for rest, repair, rejuvenation and healing. Your day will flow better. Your body will feel happier. Peace in the body and peace of mind.

How to do it: Find your inner kid and play. Be silly. If this feels like a stretch, then take pause to watch some of it all. Kids at play, dogs and cats doing their thing.

Continue for 3”. It’s as simple as that.

 

Day 6, Step 6: WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR? GIVE THANKS


There’s so much strife on the planet nowadays. It’s hard not to be affected by it. And we may have our own personal strife and challenges.

Practicing gratitude has effects on our brain structure, similar to the effects of meditation. It turns on the feel good chemicals in our brains. It has those health-supporting effects on our physical bodies. Science has proven it so.

And it can actually shift circumstances and situations. Science has proven this, too. Our thoughts, intentions and beliefs do affect the world around us. All the more peace in the body and peace of mind.

How to do it: Take 3” to reflect on what you’re grateful for. If this feels difficult, start with simple things. Like plumbing and running water. Or the sun. Or the elevator, if you live on the 30th floor. Your fingers. Your toes.

Continue for 3”. It’s as simple as that.

Day 7, Step 7: BE OF SERVICE

Selfless service, good deeds without rewards. They’re like gratitude, play, presence, meditation and gentle breathing. They make those feel good chemicals in the brain. They turn on the nervous system for rest, repair, rejuvenation and healing.

How to do it: Be of service. Do something for someone else without their knowing it. Be an anonymous donor for someone in need. Do it when you think you don’t have time, when you think you’re too busy, when it seems you have other priorities. If you’re not sure what to do, then take 3” and brainstorm.

All good stuff for peace of mind.

Some final suggestions

Take 3” out of whatever you’re doing right now, to take a break. To rest. To rest from whatever you are doing. Rest is the most underrated and essential necessity for your mind, for your body, for your entire being.

It’s the best medicine. It’s the best food. It’s the best fuel for all that you’re needing.

And after 7 days of these 7 steps, for just 3 minutes a day, try experimenting one day with a little bit of all of them. And see how you feel. I bet you’ll feel a little bit better. And have a little bit more peace of mind.

As always, hope you’ve found my musings interesting and helpful. And, as always, I welcome your feedback.

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