Five building blocks for a healthy and happy life
The following suggestions come from my daily practice. This list does not pretend to be complete or perfect.
Perhaps these ideas, which you are reading right here and now, will provide the building block you need to move on from „Yes, I know that“ to taking action…
Please feel free to ask me for individual advice.
Here are some thoughts about nutrition, sleep, exercise, breathing and emotions.
The general rule is always:
Go with the flow.
Follow your own personal path.
These questions may help you on your way:
What are my needs? What is good for me? Who is good for me and where? What do I really want? What suits me here and now? What do I want to be like?
Treat yourself and your needs lovingly and respectfully. Your current self is probably the best you can get right now 😉
Make room for your physical, emotional and mental needs every day.
Everything is in a constant state of flux. At any given moment, numerous processes of growth, reorganisation and breaking down are taking place within us. For this, we simply need energy. We draw energy from a regular supply of carefully chosen and balanced foods and the oxygen in the air.
You are probably thinking that this is very mundane advice.
Yes, what I am listing here is certainly very simple, and therein lies the difficulty.
Do you eat a balanced diet regularly? Do feel strong and fortified after eating? Does your digestion work well? Is it easy for you to maintain your weight? Do you enjoy stable health? – Great. Share your experience with others.
For those who cannot say the same, nutrition is an approach to more vitality, joy and vigour. If you take care of yourself mindfully, lovingly and in a manner appropriate to your individual needs, you will feel stable and well.
Psychological challenges are also easy to master when you enjoy the very best physical strength. It is possible to provide for and take care of yourself in many areas. And who knows your needs better than you?
Sleep not just for beauty’s sake but also for your health.
The role of sleep is completely undervalued in these times determined by our 24/7 mentality. Being (forced to be) available and informed at all times and in all places is a destabilising and harmful process and, conversely, restful sleep helps to ensure a long life.
When we sleep, extensive regenerative and repair mechanisms take place that we need during our waking hours.
At night, our bodies operate at full capacity to keep body and mind fresh and efficient.
Our immune systems benefit from every hour. Lack of sleep makes us more susceptible to viral and bacterial attacks.
Our metabolism recycles and „cleans up“. Processing the impressions of the day while we sleep safeguards our mental health.
Regenerative work takes place in particular during the deep sleep phase, providing relief to heart and circulation.
In the shallower phase of sleep – REM sleep – our brains are sometimes more active than during the day. This can be shown using modern imaging techniques. Perhaps you are familiar with the phenomenon where you go to bed in the evening with a question and in the morning the right solution is there.
What do we forget of the many charms that the past day brought us and what goes into our long-term memory, what is forgotten? Our brains decide this during sleep.
Different people have different sleep requirements. A regular routine is also beneficial for sleep.
Do you have trouble getting to sleep? We often take the last impressions and thoughts of the day with us to sleep. It can therefore be helpful to surround yourself with pleasant thoughts immediately before going to bed. These agreeable pictures accompany us and make for a relaxing night.
How do I find the right duration of sleep? Do you feel fresh and efficient in the morning, ready for the new day? If so, give yourself and the world a smile and off you go.
Otherwise, allow yourself a little more of the good medicine sleep the next night, or see if you can go to bed – and possibly get up – earlier. Ask yourself whether you need more or less time in the evening or in the morning for individual optimum performance.
Off is as important as on. Activity and rest. Both work best in dynamic balance. This also applies to the next point:
Our bodies want to be moved.
Experience the feeling of well-being after exhausting yourself or simply taking a brisk walk, after yoga, Pilates, the gym or a run. When was the last time you went swimming? Or do you like skipping?
Physical and mental well-being benefits from exercise on many levels, particularly when our whole body is involved. Above all, do not underestimate the effect on mental performance.
Try it out if it is not already part of your daily routine: allow yourself a regular, appropriate amount of exercise. Preferably on a daily basis.
We live every day, we eat every day, we sleep every day, we breathe every day…
Did you know that with every breath we take we inhale new, fresh energy in the form of oxygen? And with every breath we exhale carbon dioxide, expelling what we have burned.
A wonderful, observable image of the constant state of flux in which we find ourselves. For me, breathing is the smallest perceptible, physically and concretely tangible element of „Now“. Breathing is a way of accessing your unconscious, vegetative nervous system. Breathing out for longer than breathing in, you can actively stimulate physical processes that „shut you down“, that help you to come to rest and to yourself. Try it: are you stressed, excited, can hardly get any rest? Count to 4 as you inhale and then exhale slowly counting to between 6 and 10 and then observe how you feel.
I would encourage you to add daily breathing practice to your daily routine. As a minimum variation, take 3 conscious breaths 3 times a day while closing your eyes and following the breath in your thoughts.
How do you feel? How do you feel after doing it for at least 21 days?
Share your experience with others and pass on this simple method. I would of course also be delighted to receive your feedback.
We do not usually suffer from a lack of food, clothing or housing in our modern life. What makes us ill or gives us support can arise from the dynamics of work or living together in private relationships. Family influences and personal habits can inspire or inhibit us.
Every one of us is different and individual in their character, needs and wishes.
What unites us is our innate ability to love – ourselves and the world.
My years of practice show time and again the healing power of mindful, loving treatment of ourselves. Indulge yourself, preferably today.
How can we deal with negative emotions, tension, anger, worry, rage, fear?
Pressure creates counter-pressure. Emotions are no different.
Simply observe – and evaluate less. With yourself and with others.
The following Zen saying puts it very aptly:
I do not change by trying to be something other than what I am.
I change by fully acknowledging who I am right now.
So if you are plagued by unpleasant feelings, observe yourself and tell yourself consciously: I don’t need to change right now. I can accept everything exactly as it is. I am on a break.
The breathing exercise mentioned above helps here. Conscious breathing brings you back to tranquillity and the moment. The past is over and the future is not yet here. Breathing is now. You ARE in this moment.
You are invited to use your breath to recognise calmness as an inner source of strength. Tranquillity and serenity widen your horizon and allow intuitive solutions to emerge, effortlessly taking you to your goal with joy and efficiency.
A page with 3-minute meditation instructions follows for those who wish to learn more.