"There is a natural rhythm to life but mostly we are unaware of it"
IAN WRIGHT - THE DYNAMICS OF STILLNESS
Tips and Practices
Here we will be exploring a wide range of tips and practices for self care and prevention of health problems. Prevention is a very important area of Healthcare. There is so much we can do to keep in balance, keep our minds and bodies in some degree of harmony, so we are able to face the deep challenges we all feel in daily life.
Here I will post a series of tips and practices for health and wellbeing with access to focused podcasts and guided practices you can work with.
Tip 1: Restoration time
It often feels like we have expelled all our energy when busy but taking time to restore yourself at the end of each day can bring a number of benefits. What we tend to do here is crave stimulants to replace our energy deficit, the biggies of course are sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Then we want to zone out, so go on our phones, social media etc etc.
One different way is to allow yourself 10 minutes before zoning out to restore your energy.
There are a variety of practices, which can be helpful in doing this, from yoga, tai chi, and meditation to just taking a lie down. The point is that if we actively engage in a practice, which restores us, we feel better quicker and learn to wind down and relax.
One practice which can be helpful is to just take time to sit, relax , tune into something that feels quiet, soft or delicate within your breathing and allow and thoughts , feeling or emotions to be, don’t chase them away. Usually the first thing you will feel is really tired! Great well allow this and let it be, then under that what will usually happen is any unresolved feeling or emotion will surface from the day - like some anger at your boss, or some unresolved sadness. Don’t engage with thinking about it, just allow the feeling to be, breathe and let it be and it will soon soften into the background.
From here just tune into your energy - every thought, feeling emotion or action involves energy, we are literally putting energy out all over the place. But we need to realise that energy is not finite, we live in a sea of energy, we are energy, it just moves freely.
Allow the energy of your thoughts, feelings and emotions which you have released during the day to gently return to you, from the outside, like a tide coming slowly in, restoring your energy, cleansed calm and quiet. Allow yourself to feel supported by the Universe, by nature, by God, Christ, Buddha etc whatever you believe in, the key is to feel held and supported.
Try this every day – it only takes 5-10 minutes and gets easier with practice. Over time you find that your energy restores without you even thinking about it.
Sleep as we know is key to wellbeing, only recently have we begun to understand why.
Recent research into Short wave sleep from Boston University has looked into delta wave function and a reverse flow of the fluid that bathes the brain (the cerebro-spinal fluid), which seems to act to bathe, cleanse and clear the brain. In short wave sleep cycles, the deep sleep, the cortex is active but the brain is not connected to the senses, as we are asleep. This is about laying down memories and deeply processing the day before.
This shows that the old saying that we should ‘ sleep on it’ about big decisions is very true.
How we sleep through these 3 cycles of lighter shortwave, deep shortwave and Rapid Eye movement sleep is crucial for rebalancing our brains, minds and body.
Gamma wave radiation from phones and TVs seems to act to stimulate the brain. In order to sleep we need the brain waves to slow right down into Delta waves of 2-3 cycles a minute. SO switch off the phones and TVs at least an hour before bed, let your mind relax and breath a little.
Slow down your actions, fall into rhythm a bit, rhythm is excellent for slowing down the brain waves, slow teeth brushing, routines are good.
Do not take stimulants late evening, no sugar, alcohol, caffeine.
Make sure the room is not too hot, sleep is better with the room slightly cool. Keep the lights low for the last hour or two, candles are better.
When you go to bed, make sure there are no electrics around your head, the brain is electric and doesn’t need stimulation from anything electric or electromagnetic. Wear natural fibers.
The trick of falling to sleep is NOT to try to fall asleep. Just enjoy the comfort of your bed and relax your body, the less you try, the easier your nervous system softens.
If you can’t sleep you must always accept it, just let it be, its fine that you are not asleep yet, keep accepting allowing any feeling, do not repress anything, just fully accept. The more you allow it the more your nervous system relaxes, the more your nervous system relaxes the slower your brain waves and easier to sleep. Just let it be..
If you cannot sleep after 10 minutes, I think its best to get up for 10m minutes, go to the loo, have some water, listen to some gentle music maybe, and return back to sleep as your eyelids start to drop.
Magnesium is helpful for sleep, best to take it in powder form, a heaped teaspoon in warm water.
The key to exercise is not too little but also not too much. When we push it too much in exercise we tend to hyper-stimulate our nervous systems, producing stress hormones, which cause problems in the body. When we overdo it also, we are prone to injury.
Everyone should find their own routines, we each have different physiologies, with different exercise needs, according to body type, fitness needs, age etc.
The basics are exercise 4-5 times a week, including rest days.
Ideally a mixture of the following
Aerobic - running, cycling, swimming, team sports etc.
Strength and conditioning - pilates, weights
Stretching practices- eg yoga
Hydration is key.
A slow warm up and warm down are keys to integration of positive effects of exercise.
If you can exercise in a positive frame of mind, even with joy it can enhance benefits physiologically.
Group/ social exercise ie team sports have been shown again and again as the giving the most all-round benefits of any exercise.
Our connective tissue or Fascia have been shown increasingly to be key to our health and wellbeing.
Every muscle, organ, joint, even our brains are held, protected by connective tissue. This web of interconnected tissue is absolute key to normal function in the body.
Recent studies have looked at how connective tissues are the key factor in communication between cells, organs and whole parts of the body.
These Fascia need freedom and a degree of fluidity to give the necessary glide which allow the cells, tissues, muscles and organs to function well.
For this glide we need 2 important things.
The first is hydration, we tend to be quite dehydrated throughout the day, this impacts the glide in our connective tissue.
The second is stretching, everybody needs to stretch, babies do it in utero, look at cats and how much time they stretch. We tend to sit scrunched up all day at our desks and our connective tissues contract and loos their glide and fluidity.
To stretch connective tissue we need first of all to slow down. Connective tissues only start to disengage after 20-30 seconds when we hold stretches. Take up the posture-not to the level of pain, but until you feel the pull, then just wait there. About 20 seconds into the stretch you will start to feel a softening as the fascia start to release. It feels wonderful. Yoga is great for this but hold the posture and slow down for true benefits.
This connective tissue stretching is vital for athletes and vital as we get older and our fascia, tend to bunch up and dry up a little.
See Connective tissue, fascia and stretching podcasts here or look up Fascia stretches on Youtube for more detail.
Tip 5 : Engage with your own sense of Health everyday
This is a simple practice but very helpful and if developed can lead to a self-healing practice.
We are attuned at a very deep level to what feels wrong in our body, what is blocked, painful difficult. Our senses are attuned to a proprioception, a feeling sense within ourselves based on what feels wrong as opposed to what feels alive, free, fluid, energetic.
If we spend just 5 minutes a day tuning into a sense of aliveness, a sense of potency, fluidity within our body, it can slowly retune our internal proprioceptive sense into our own capacity for health, ‘what we focus on grows’, as the saying goes. If you try this you really get a sense of it, of this feeling of aliveness, fluidity growing as we attune to it.
Start with say a finger, focus on something that feels alive, free, fluid in it and watch as the feeling grows, the next step Is usually your attention moves naturally to another part of the body, and here focus again on aliveness, if you feel a block either focus on the aliveness around the block or the sense of aliveness WITHIN the block, however tiny, it can start with a tiny almost cellular level, but as we focus on it it grows and with it can start to soften the block.
See chapters 25-27 Dynamics of Stillness for more on this.