“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”. –Albert Einstein
With regard to emotional dilemmas, engaging directly with our emotions may be the least efficient approach to a resolution. You may be thinking, so does that mean, “it’s better to keep my emotions and problems inside and built up?” The answer to that is…no, keeping your emotions festering inside does not resolve your issues. Many of us gain perspective on our emotional turmoil by engaging in different activities and habits which promote self-reflection and emotional healing. Some people read, exercise, and others may garden when dealing with stress and emotional turmoil. Increasing mindful awareness by training ourselves in quieting the mind and focus on self-reflection that help us move forward and make progress towards a happier, healthier state of being. Taking these practices into our lives, making progress a day at a time, will eventually lead to a focused, calm, and clear mind. People who improve both in personal awareness and nutrition, and who are adequately active, are able to harmonize their emotions efficiently. This leads to higher self-esteem, motivation, confidence, clarity, and overall a better handle on life.
This not only affects you personally, but it can have a positive impact on the people and loved ones around you. Dealing with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, insecurities, and other problems not only affect you, but the people around you. It is important however to remember that change does not happen over night. Be patient with yourself and understand that some things take time and a gentle hand to heal. Ultimately, developing effective long-term changes in our lifestyles that promote personal empowerment instead of finding short-term solutions (keeping emotions bottled up, going shopping) that will make a lasting difference on our personal wellbeing.
Clearing Emotional Turmoil Remedies:
Awareness Practices that Quiet the Mind (Silent contemplation, meditation, self-reflection, music, art,)
Emotional Turmoil (Stuck habits, depression, anxiety, panic, fear, worry, grief, insecurity, anger, resentments, addictive attachments to people, food, drugs, alcohol, etc.)
Biologic Healing (with exercise, yoga, meditation, appropriate whole foods, herbal therapy)
The first priority of healing our emotional and physical turmoil is Awareness. This is the relaxed focusing of the mind, which helps unify our mind, spirit, and body. We all experience tough moments in our lives and it is easier said than done to move on from these experiences. Having greater awareness involves learning to fully grasp the nature of our current problems and have the intuition and strength to overcome them. This is where the remedies above come into effect. The ideal level of awareness may occur most easily during concentrated practices similar to the ones above. However, any relaxing or focusing experience where we pay attention, appreciate nature or art, or listen/play a musical instrument can certainly bring peace to our minds and should be encouraged.
The second priority I want to talk about is activity, which comes from the “biologic Healing” category in the chart above. Certain activities blend awareness practices such as different variations of yoga, which allow you to clear your mind yet strengthen the body. This also includes manual labor, physical chores (e.g. helping the elderly or ill with housework), sports, walking, weight training, or other numerous exercise programs. Exercise builds “digestive fire,” which is necessary for us to receive good nutrition from our food. Physical activity speeds up digestion, increases blood flow, and stimulates muscles in the GI tract. This allows our organs to work more efficiently by breaking down and absorbing the necessary nutrients and minerals to maintain a healthy body and relieves stress to maintain a healthy mind.
The third priority is Nutrition, which is also listed under Biologic Healing. When coupled with exercise, it creates an effective and inspiring therapy. As Paul Pitchford puts it,
“The right type of quality food, when digested thoroughly benefits the biochemistry of our bodies and especially that of our brain function.”
Indeed, positive nutrition enhances our well-being of the mind in general, including how we think and feel. If our mind is clear and self-reflective we learn to handle situations differently. For example, our actions may become increasingly proactive rather than reactive. We may learn to love again, and find a passion that makes us happy through allowing us to have a clear mind.
When emotions are relatively balanced, we naturally sense self-respect and therefore make quality food choices to benefit our mind and body. We begin to realize the importance of eating healthy and discover that inferior foods aren’t enough. We find that we have more energy, alertness, and notice physical changes. We naturally prefer not to pollute our bodies and degrade our minds with them.
Building and finding this relationship between food and awareness is a key to feeling complete and having emotional equilibrium. Having greater awareness breaks the emotional attachment-link to food. These simple processes are often the hardest to see:
“We may think our emotional conundrums need a complex cur, yet by having practices that calm the mind and brighten the spirit, by being abundantly active, and choosing quality foods, we ride the emotional train to harmony” –Paul Pitchford
This may be a lot to take in and it may be intimidating to find a starting point for incorporating these remedies and concepts into your daily life. Increasing your mindful awareness is done through small incremental steps. Learning to slow down and settle our minds takes time and effort, but the benefits are worth it. Future posts for this series will help educate you on long-term diet changes, sustainable food options, and exercise tips. Many of which may be surprising, but overall will help you live a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.
Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Tradition and Modern Nutrition. 3rd ed. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2002. 23-24. Print.