In my DEEPEN approach I speak to 6 Key Principles that have had a profound impact on my ongoing recovery with Crohn’s Disease.
• D – detachment
• E – education
• E – elimination
• P – positivity
• E – exercise
• N – nutrition
Today, in Part 3 of this 6 part series I talk about elimination and why I think it’s a key component to long term success in health and wellness
Energy. It’s in the food we eat, the music we hear, the activities we participate in, the objects we have in our home. Quite simply; energy is everywhere. How we feel is energy too. What we do or who we spend our time with greatly impacts our energy. The way I see it, every day we are faced with a set of choices that either bring us feelings of positive energy or negative energy. If we truly want to function at our healthiest then we need to make choices that bring us more positive energy and less negative. Our health and sense of well-being is greatly impacted by our energy. We need to pay attention and start tuning in to what makes us feel good and what doesn’t. Once we realize what it is that is bringing us these feelings of negativity, we need to take the necessary steps to eliminate them from our life.
Of course we’re all different and therefore what makes us feel good or bad will vary drastically from individual to individual. Generally speaking however; I believe there’s a list of common “negative experiences” that many of us encounter on a daily basis…and some of us might not even be tuned in enough to our own bodies to realize what those are. Below are some of the most common, and sometimes overlooked sources of negative energy.
CLUTTER: Our home and office are two of the places we spend the greatest amount of time in. A dirty home or a dirty desk will have a negative impact on your energy. Clutter causes stress. Stress causes disease. A messy home or a messy office leave us feeling anxious, guilty, or overwhelmed. Not only does clutter unnecessarily overstimulate our senses, but it distracts our attention making it more difficult to relax, essentially signalling our brain to feel like our work is never complete. Fortunately, clutter is one of the easiest sources of negative energy to eliminate. There are many good online resources for tackling clutter, and whatever method(s) you choose, I guarantee your decluttered self will thank you for it.
NEGATIVE SELF TALK: Have you ever made a real effort to spend the day listening to how you speak to yourself? Often we’re so busy living in the past (which can cause feelings of depression) or the future (which can cause feelings of anxiety) that the thoughts that go on in our head in the present moments are not being paid much attention. We all have them. The voice that judges, doubts, belittles or criticizes. Telling us we’re not good enough, and speaking such horrible things that we would never fathom saying to anyone else. You may not believe it, but everything you say to yourself matters. It actually matters a lot. These negative thoughts can greatly impact your concept of self and therefore your self-esteem.
Paying attention to this negative self-talk and being aware of it is the first step towards eliminating it from your life. Once you realize this inner critic at work you can take the steps necessary for silencing it. Separate yourself from the critic and realize that this isn’t actually your authentic self. Likely these are opinions or criticisms that we may have heard at one point in time in our life and we simply internalized them along the way. Challenge the voice, focus on what you like or what you do well and tell yourself those things instead. They say it takes three positive comments to cancel the effects to your self-esteem from one negative one. Positive thoughts cultivate positive feelings, and positive feelings will cultivate positive experiences. Eliminate your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones and watch how your life (and health) starts to change for the better.
NUTRITION: I think we all know how I feel about this one. A dirty diet is dirty energy and is not going to have a positive effect on your health and well being whatsoever. Food is literally our life force and our fuel. We don’t put diesel in gasoline cars and expect them to work well. Don’t expect your body to either. For more information on nutrition and possible starting points with nutrition for IBD click here
MUSIC, ENTERTAINMENT, & SOCIAL MEDIA: The music we listen to, the movies we watch, the social media we pay attention to all greatly impact our energy and therefore our sense of well being. If the music you’re listening to makes you sad, or angry, turn it off. If the news or movies you’re watching cause anxiety, stop watching them. If the people you follow on social media have you comparing yourself or cause you to feel poorly about yourself, stop following them. Listen to music that makes you feel happy or brings back positive memories. Watch television that you learn something from or makes you laugh. Follow social media accounts with positive messages or that share images that get your creativity flowing. According to a study from Social Media Today, the average person will spend nearly two hours on social media every day. This translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over the course of a lifetime. Currently, the total time spent on social media beats time spent eating, drinking, socializing, and grooming. Is it any wonder that something we spend so much time doing has so much influence over our health and well being?
NEGATIVE PEOPLE AND TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS: Who we spend our time with greatly impacts who we are and how we feel. We’ve all heard the saying from motivational speaker Jim Rohn that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. When it comes to our relationships we are greatly influenced by those closest to us. If you surround yourself with negative people, expect yourself to become negative as well. Unhealthy and toxic relationships can turn a negative external environment into a negative internal environment very quickly. Toxic relationships have been shown to lead to stress, depression, anxiety and even medical problems.
Pay attention to your energy when you’re with certain people. Do you feel energized or do you feel drained? Do you feel better or worse about yourself after being with them? Is the relationship centred around feelings of happiness and security or do you find it is fueled by drama and arguments? Now many of us will find ourselves in negative or toxic relationships from time to time, and I’m not saying up and leave all of them, but if there is a toxic pattern that won’t change once it’s acknowledged and addressed then there will be a time when we will need to choose between our personal well being and the relationship. For partners this may mean permanent or temporary separation. For parents and children this may mean less contact. For coworkers, this may mean distancing yourself as much as possible. Eliminating a toxic relationship from your life can be one of the most difficult things to do, but it can also have the greatest positive impact on our physical and psychological well being. We all deserve to be loved in ways that are healthy and experience relationships that make us feel safe.
In a world that continues to become more and more health conscious, we sometimes get so caught up in the nutrition labels, organic alternatives, or the latest fitness craze to remember that often the biggest answers to our health may simply lay in our daily behaviours. Taking the time to step back and pay attention to how our energy is being impacted in various circumstances is a powerful tool. Personally, I know when I take the time to check in and assess how I’m being impacted by the things and people around me, I’m better able to cultivate a healthy external environment that has my internal environment feeling better as well. Our energy is literally our life currency, so I encourage you to not only protect it, but spend it wisely 😉
“Energy is the currency of the universe. When you “pay” attention to something, you buy that experience. So when you allow your consciousness to focus on someone or something that annoys you, you feed it your energy, and it reciprocates with the experience of being annoyed. Be selective in your focus because your attention feeds the energy of it and keeps it alive, not just within you, but in the collective consciousness as well.”
― Emily Maroutian