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Home / Articles / Arts & Entertainment / Celebrities /  Nourishment for Your Body, Mind and Spirit!
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Friday, November 1,2019

Nourishment for Your Body, Mind and Spirit!

By Liz Sterling  
“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” -Marcus Aurelius

Liz Sterling is a writer, coach, teacher, broadcaster, advice columnist and inspirational public speaker. Meet her at: AskLiz.com

Here come the holidays with outings, celebrations and FOOD! Lots of it.

Starting with Halloween and culminating with New Year’s brunch, there’s a certain consciousness that prevails around food and gluttony. How many times have you said, “Well, I blew it today so I might as well eat everything I want.” Then, after permission is granted, you go for the cookies and cake and pie etc. And not just that — along with each bite comes a little bit of guilt.

My goal in writing this article is twofold:

First, I want to educate you about guilt and shame and illustrate the effects it has on your psyche.

Second, I am going to make a proposal that could mitigate the perils of the holiday season, so I invite you to feel into what I am sharing and read on… According to a study published in Psychology Today by Guy Winch Ph.D.,“Guilty feelings may make you feel literally heavier and more belabored. Studies found evidence that feeling guilty makes people assess their weight as being significantly heavier than it actually is, and physical activities as requiring significantly more effort, than non-guilty people do.” Additionally we learn from his research that, “Guilty feelings make it difficult to think straight. When guilty feelings compete for your attention with the demands of work, school, and life in general, guilt usually wins. Studies have found that concentration, productivity and efficiency are all significantly lower when you´re feeling actively guilty.”

Anyone who knows what guilt feels like, which is most probably everyone, knows that guilt has a life of its own. It is what the Zen teachers refer to as “monkey mind” and if you’ve seen a monkey in the wild, you’ll observe that it swings from branch to branch unceasingly. It’s cute when monkeys do it but when your minds ricochets from negative and fearful thoughts to minimizing, self-depreciating thoughts, it’s cumbersome and limiting and guess what….. we all have some degree of monkey mind. Let’s shine some light on this subject so we can move to the solution.

Incessant habitual thoughts take up most of our mental activity. Habits are involuntary behaviors controlled by the subconscious mind. How much of what we do is habitual? According to engineer and author, Stu Walesh, “Studies by neurobiologists, cognitive psychologists, and others indicate that from 40 to 95 percent of human behavior—how we think, what we say, and our overall actions—falls into the habit category.” I postulate that neuroscience can teach us about unlearning and replacing negative, guilt ridden thoughts and many of the habitual monkey mind thinking. Walesh has developed a great method for changing things up . He calls it, The Cue-Routine-Result Process. “When we are in the habit mode, he advises, “our subconscious mind—not our conscious mind—directs our behavior using the cue-routine-result process.

We subconsciously see or experience a cue, such as feeling thirsty in midafternoon; we initiate a routine, such as buying a soft drink; and we receive a result, such as feeling good. The cueroutine-result process, which is essentially controlled by the subconscious mind, is the key to understanding habits and their results. If we are not pleased with some of the results, such as consuming too much sugar, that three–step process enables us to change the habit.”

Think of something that causes you to feel guilty — for me, it’s eating white carbs. Toast, crackers, bread, chips, Stacy’s Pita’s for example, I discovered them this summer — argggh. These consumptions make me feel terrible after I’ve eaten them. With this new method of cue, routine, result, the next time I experience the cue, to eat those chips, I will create a new routine, by eating a fruit or veggie and I’ll have a new result ergo, a new habit and happier thoughts.

Take a few minutes and consider where your power lies. What would you like to change? Can you divert your monkey mind? And what can you do to feel really good?

So here is part two… Have you ever eaten your way through the holidays knowing you will join the gym or start an activity plan after the new year?

So here’s my suggestion….. DO IT NOW!

Start the end of the year with a commitment to physically nourishing yourself.

According to the Mayo Clinic physical activity has many benefits including:

controlling weight, combating disease, improving mood, boosting energy, promoting better sleep and…. putting the spark back into your sex life.

I was up north for a while this year and can attest that walking is good but for me and swimming is great! I’m in for that —- adding a few swims a week to my activities and knowing that I’m preparing for the holidays. Plus this holiday season, I’m relying on my awareness to those triggers and mindfulness for the cues that set off habitual behaviors.

Let’s get into the holiday spirit now.

Just think about it…. the excitement that comes from creating new routines, developing new thinking and the true freedom that comes from liberating ourselves from old habits, for the new year!

Happy Holidays… We Can Do This! Love, Liz

 

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