You know that essential, transcendent part of you? Call it what you will: soul, spirit, inner spark. I call it the Inspired Self. It’s real all right, even though it can’t be posted as a profile pic. Whatever you call your inner God/Goddess, it’s awesome. But what’s left of you rocks, too. Without the physical mechanism to get (slapped) around in this techno-material world, you’d be screwed. I call this contraption the Incarnate Self. It’s the sexy package you put forth and use to function. Even though your practical parts– brain and bod– may not be as divinely perfect as your Inspired Self, they deserve your devotion all the same. Here are some ways to worship your indispensable Incarnate Self.
TEND THE TEMPLE: worship the instrument that enables you to do and be.
- Check In. On a regular basis, notice your physical sensations. Tune into your feelings. The body transmits wisdom. What you pick up from your inner experience is key data. Take a moment to explore what’s going on in there. If you find a sensation, feeling or emotion, inquire. Search out the message. Be curious and delve. Why are you clenching your jaw? Is there something you need to say? Hello, inner truth. Self-awareness is about knowing yourself from the inside out. Get into it.
- Rock Out. Keep moving. This is good not just for your body, but for your mind as well. The body/mind is inextricably connected, so realize that doing right by one is doing you right all around. Yesterday, I attended a day-long seminar on how exercise pumps up the brain. What I learned after sitting there just short of 7 hours is simple (and ironic): don’t sit too much! According to expert Michael Lara, MD, you’re better off moving around throughout the day than doing an hour-long workout and sitting the rest of the day. Check out his website for the mind-pumping research and other compelling info. You already know that exercise is a natural anti-depressant. But if you require studies to prove it, Mike’s your man.
- Worship It. Taking care of yourself is self-love. That’s right! You do know how to “love yourself” like all the self-help books preach. Just getting to the dentist for a bi-annual teeth cleaning is an act of reverence. And it doesn’t stop there. (Massage, anyone?) Give your body what it craves. A bath is hydrotherapy. An organic salad with wild caught salmon is top notch fuel. Sleep is well deserved restoration. Regard yourself as a divine temple housing your Inspired Self and treat it like the miraculous treasure it is.
TAME THE MIND: train your mind to work for you, not against you.
- Be Present. Mental noise almost always consists of thoughts of the past or thoughts of the future. Think about it. If you are in distress, you are likely ruminating or rehearsing. In this moment, you are all good. Visit now more often. It is so peaceful here. If you want a magic pill for mental health, try a dose of presence.
- Be Positive. If you’re going to feed any thoughts, let them be the good ones. You create your reality with your thoughts. Maybe it’s old school to look on the bright side, but it beats the alternative. Somewhere in our garage there’s a book called, You Can’t Afford The Luxury of a Negative Thought. It never gets donated because it has such a killer title. Seriously.
- Be Still. Let’s be real. You’re probably over-stimulated. Ever sit in front of the T.V. with an ipod in your lap and your cell phone next to you? It’s a weird world, friends, and you’re in it. Once a day, steal a little quiet. Your consciousnesses important updates for you. These messages of wisdom are being whispered all the time and it’s up to you to listen. Aside from the frenetic, wired environment you’re in, you’re probably generating a lot of mental noise, too. It’s a habit until we break it. How? Be still and see what surfaces. Carve out 10 minutes of stillness every day. Meditate if that’s your thing. Be mindful. But somehow, turn it off and tune in.
Read more: Faith Freed | MFT Intern & Author