2001-10-13 / Columnists

Health and Harmony

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

When we experience shock, fear, trauma, loss, our bodies experience it as an attack.  Our minds react with fear and our bodies mount a defense.  Our eyes widen to give us a better view of the terrain, the better to see our attackers; our hearts race faster, our respiration increases and our muscles tense in order to prepare for the fight - or- the flight.  All our systems are in a state of hyper-vigilance.  Even our hearing becomes more acute as we startle at small noises.  We are quick to snap back a retort or react with inappropriate or uncharacteristic irritability because our nervous system is in high gear.  We are under attack.  We attack back.

This is the state we are now living in. The danger has not passed.  There is an ongoing threat.  The outer reality is reflected in our inner state.  Anxiety. Fear.  It demoralizes the body.  It weakens the immune system.  It leaves you defenseless.  It lets evil in; it doesn't deflect it.

Happiness is the key to healing.

Abraham Lincoln once said "most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be".  So, mind over matter. Be positive. It takes the same energy to think positive thoughts as it does to think negative ones.

Live in the moment.

*Create a space in your day for happiness. Research shows that the muscles used in smiling release endorphins in the brain..Happy Chemicals!  Put a smile on your face!  Take a minute to think of one happy thought or remember a happy moment.  Be thankful for it and move forward.

*Practice Random Acts of Kindness.
*Do things to nurture yourself.  Take a long, hot bubble bath. Light candles.  Phone a friend.  Hug the kids.  Eat healthy, nurturing comfort foods.  Get a good night's sleep.  Rent a funny movie.  Listen to Mozart or Vivaldi music.

*Take time to grieve your losses.  Set aside 15 minutes a day to allow yourself to vent your feelings.  Giving it a place and a set amount of time will help you to "bracket" your feelings so that you are not obsessed by them.  Write letters in a journal; make lists of Mads, Sads, Scares, Glads about the loss.   Twist a towel, pound a pillow, scream, dig a hole in the ground and pour your feelings into it.  When you express a real feeling, there is a genuine feeling of release.  Then, let it go.
Recharge Yourself.

Whenever you feel tired, discouraged, or a lack of energy, stop whatever you are doing and take 5 deep breaths...inhaling and exhaling very slowly.  Then repeat the following affirmations:  "I am strong and healthy. I am in full control.  I can accomplish anything I desire.  I am now charged with new energy and vitality to do the task before me.  For this, I give thanks."

Move your body, shake the sillies out!
Walking uplifts the spirit.

Breathe out the poisons of tension, stress and worry

Breathe in the power of God.
Send forth little silent prayers of good will toward those you meet.
Walk with a sense of being a part of a vast Universe.

Consider the thousands of miles of earth beneath your feet;
think of the limitless expanse of space above your head.
Walk in awe, wonder and humility.
Walk at all times of day.
In the early morning when the world is just waking up.
Late at night under the stars.
                   -Wilfred Peterson
Happiness is our natural immunity.  It's your birthright.  Live it.  One day at a time.

May the Blessings Be!   
For information on Health & Harmony seminars and workshops, see What's Happening section of the Wave or call 212-753-7939.


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