Most women, especially those who have children, believe that their main aim in life is to give to others. This is what we have been taught. What we haven’t been told is that we cannot possibly be of any real benefit to other people if we don’t feel good and our batteries run on empty.
Nourish Positive Emotions First
There are many things that you need to give yourself first before you can even start thinking of helping others. Foremost, positive emotions. In contrast to what most women think, that is NOT selfish. It’s plain logic. And it has been confirmed by cutting-edge scientific research.
I come across a lot of people who dream of making a meaningful contribution by becoming teachers, early childhood educators, coaches or therapists. While these are noble aims, it is remarkable that many of them are overloaded with stress and consequently negativity. Imagine the effect of as stressed pre-school teacher on a toddler. I think that we can only be brilliant in these professions, or in any profession when we are at ease.
When we feel anxious and stressed over a long period, the results are unpleasant. They include irritability, outbursts of anger, mood swings, over-reactions to the small stuff, sleeplessness, aches and pains, hormonal imbalance, digestive disorders, frequent colds as well as a large range of stress-related diseases. When we are in such a state, the impact we make on others is far from positive. Let’s be clear on this: when we feel bad, we negatively affect those around us – even if we try to hide it or deny it.
Make Your Own Wellbeing the Top Priority
Everything starts with taking a decision. So the first step is to make our own well-being the top priority. When I say this out loud, I usually see shocked faces. It seems like a radical statement.
Please consider this: We are faced with a global system that mainly churns out products which are not exactly making positive contributions to our health and are produced in ways that harm the planet. At a time like this, the commitment to take excellent care of ourselves so that we feel well is indeed a radical act. At the same time, it’s the most loving thing we can do – for ourselves and for others.
Well-being has many levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In all areas we have needs crying out to be satisfied. Nourishing ourselves has many forms. The internet is buzzing with advice about getting enough rest, eating healthy food, doing workouts, or thinking positively. These activities are necessary and beneficial. However, by themselves, they are not addressing the core of the matter effectively enough.
Uplifting Emotions Re-charge our Batteries
Emotions are the primary drivers of our physiology. The way we feel impacts our heart rate rhythm and that determines loads of other things. This is one of the results of research undertaken by the Institute of HeartMath in California.
Emotions such as worry, or anger lead to a jagged heart rate rhythm and create havoc in our system, to the point that vital energy is drained and the immune system shuts down for hours. The good news is that we can learn to shift out of negative emotions within a few minutes.
The HeartMath solution includes exercises where we slow down our breathing and focus on our hearts while we attentively look at something that we truly appreciate. It’s that simple. It takes about three minutes. It nourishes us on all levels. What it takes, to reap the many health benefits, is a regular practice and commitment.
Laughing and giggling – even when you fake them – are other scientifically proven ways of reducing stress chemicals and shifting out of negative emotions. Even smiling for one minute infuses our system with endorphins, which creates a sense of happiness. Laughter Yoga is a fun exercise where we easily cultivate more joy.
Train yourself to find something beautiful around you and take a few minutes to intensely appreciate it. Cultivate the habit of laughing for 15 minutes every day. These practices create new patterns in our heart rate rhythms that become a new default mode through practice. Chronic stress responses have created a habitual mode that can be transformed only by emotional re-patterning. Really feeling more positive emotions every day is an effective way out. It feels good and produces great results. Try it.