Another level of communication, or expression, is our feelings and emotions.
How do you respond to your feelings when you are feeling them?
Do you notice your feelings at all?
Can you name them?
Do they make sense to you?
Some feelings may be more comfortable to feel than others, such as happiness, or a feeling of love or being loved. I find it quite easy to feel content, for example. Other feelings, such as anger, sadness, or jealousy can often be harder to discern because we may believe that it isn’t ok to feel those things. This can lead to a more general sense of feeling “upset” and maybe not even knowing why. Paying attention to our feelings as they arise, by listening and honoring their message (their communication) to us can help guide us to getting to know ourselves better, from what we need, to what works for us, and what needs to be expressed.
The body has another level of communication that is more recently being understood and respected as a message of health.The aches and pains of our body can give us great insight into our physical needs. For example, if you spend a day traveling by air or car and sitting for a long period of time in one place, the next day you might notice feeling some aches and tightness in the body from that lack of mobility the day before. A natural response to this “information” would be to move around, maybe go for a walk or do some light stretching to give the body what it needs to feel good. Discomfort in the body is more often a sign to pay attention to something that needs tweaking, rather than a sign we need to take some pain relievers and continue doing what we’ve been doing.
The developmental psychologist, Erik Erikson, identified eight psychosocial stages for ego development.
The first stage he titled Trust versus Mistrust. In this first stage, Erikson theorized we are under an essential crisis, which is the question, “is the world safe or not safe?” Depending on the consistent loving care of our parent or provider during infancy, we develop a sense of trust in the world to meet our needs or not. This sense of trust or mistrust, carries over into all relationships. Including, we can assume, one’s relationship with herself.If we complete this stage with a sense of trust, then we also complete this stage with hope, or confidence, that future crises or challenges will be managed successfully.If we complete this stage with mistrust, that is, if our needs were not lovingly met in a consistent way, than instead of hope lies anxiety, or fear, and a lack of confidence in addressing the inevitable obstacles of future reality. To read more about Erikson and his psychosocial stages click here.
Let’s take this premise and apply it to the essence of Conscious Wellness. Let’s also hypothesize that most people have a mixed experience of trust and mistrust, that it isn’t so black or white as Erikson describes it in his stages. Let’s assume that one could complete the stage with trust and mistrust, and that this stage may never actually be complete, but continues to evolve within us as we move through each relationship and experience that life has to offer.
The one person that we will always be in relationship with our whole lives is our own self.What does it mean to be in relationship to our own self? How is that even possible? Well, let’s consider for a moment the different levels of communication that we can participate in. The first thing you may think of when I say communication is talking and then you might think that it is ridiculous the notion of talking to yourself. Unless you’re me, and I talk to myself all the time.
Modern psychology identifies that the majority of our thinking on a daily basis is negative self talk. So maybe we are not talking to ourselves out loud, but there sure seems to be a lot of chatter in our minds and many of us are not even aware of the constant self talk that is going on and guiding the way we feel and how we make choices everyday. If you are interested in discovering what your self-talk might be I suggest sitting quietly, with no distractions, and writing in a journal. Without censoring yourself or worrying about correct spelling or grammar, just let yourself write the flow of thoughts onto the page and observe what comes up. Additionally, noticing what you are thinking about others can also be an indicator about how we talk to ourselves internally as well.
While it is important to develop autonomy for wellness, it is a delicate construction, especially if we have been significantly hurt in the past.
It is easy to swing too far into a stoic independence, which can really be a masked rebellion towards an experience of authority in our past that wasn’t so kind or nurturing. It is critical to understand that true autonomy is free from rebellion, and will point us in the direction of relationships that reinforce what we are discussing here.
In other words, as much as we need autonomy in health, we also need each other. Others provide new insights, and can reflect to us areas in our self and our own lives that we might still be missing, or flat out ignoring. It would be contraindicated to promote the idea that anyone of us should be tackling our health needs and goals on our own. This is often a sure way to get lost in the “information” and develop new rules to live by to keep us safe, or right, or free from whatever it is that we fear. Truly, our relationships in all their joy and discomfort help guide us ever more into self-awareness.
Indeed, from birth, it is by being in relationship that we learn anything about who we are, and what the world is to us. Certainly be discerning about the relationships you choose, and remember most of all to always be in relationship with yourself foremost.
As we give attention to ourselves in this way, with our neutral curiosity and inquiry, we invite the self to emerge. As we get to know ourselves even more fully, and we merge this awareness with the growing and evolving knowledge regarding health and wellness, we reach exciting territory. We begin to design in a dynamic way, a lifestyle (including diet), and way of approaching life that is unique to our own individual make up. We participate fully in creating a reality that is for our benefit and actualization, and places our wellness at the heart of that reality, so that all of our creations flow from our health and thus sustain it.
We believe in the power of awareness, that is, becoming ever more aware of ourselves and our inner life.
This means becoming conscious of our motivations, impulses, insecurities, needs, feelings, wants, passions and concerns.
The more we become aware of ourselves, the more we can develop a relationship of listening to ourselves with compassion and understanding. This willingness to hear our own needs and responses to life gives us a unique position to respond to ourselves with great care. Indeed, we have the opportunity in self-reflection to respond to ourselves the way we may have always wished others would respond to us.
Building a caring relationship with our self is an empowering action and a foundational step towards conscious wellness. Within a loving and kind relationship, the true self naturally emerges.We no longer need to maintain defenses or coping mechanisms from the past to avoid looking at our self. In the presence of a loving other, we can begin to get to know the truth about what we need, and what our own wellness goals really are in this moment.
Because we are dynamic, alive beings, these needs and goals are rarely static, but more evolving and deepening over time. Building skills to self-reflect with compassion and curiosity, rather than criticism, invites more of our self to emerge and sets a trusting precedent with ourselves that reinforces the self-reciprocity inherent in listening to our bodies, emotions, and thoughts with respect and then responding accordingly.
This emergent autonomy strengthens over time an inner locus of control, which basically means that you become the expert on you.Being the expert on yourself does not mean dismissing other points of view, feedback, or medical information at all.
It means incorporating your own voice into the discussion of your health. Too easily we have signed over that voice to a new fad diet, or our friends exercise routines, or other advice that in truth, may or may not be the right fit. Just because it works for another does not mean it will work for you. This is the value of self-reflection and building a wellness autonomy. Only you know your body- how your digestion feels, how your joints feel, what level of concentration is normal for you, how you are enjoying or not enjoying your life and able to see the beauty within it. These are all indicators of wellness and very unique to each individual.
Conscious Wellness is really about hope and possibility. At Conscious Wellness we do everything we can to stay fully informed and educated in areas of nutrition, healthy lifestyles, and all things therapeutic. And with this knowledge we hope to share with all of you, we claim our own leadership in this field.
Conscious Wellness supports the development of an inner locus of control for discerning and understanding the innate inner wisdom that guides each of us towards balance and health. Conscious Wellness aims to empower the individual through unconditional and reflective therapeutic regard combined with evidence-based nutritional and lifestyle knowledge. Autonomous, kind, curious, and informed individuals become conscious leaders of health in their own lives and in their communities.
Nourishment and depletion is a common theme at Conscious Wellness.
Almost everything we discuss is, at its core, about noticing whether experiences are nourishing or depleting. The practice of learning to listen to our bodies is no exception.We must learn to tune in to our bodies and trust how they guide us.This is a challenge in our society, which highly values the capacity to analyze and think through practical applications. For example, we often seek a written manual or expert advice to provide clarity on how to eat. But these sources are not always reliable. We are easily seduced by the latest trends in healthy eating and healthy weight management. When this happens, we bypass our own internal wisdom.
Our bodies have a lot to tell us about what nourishes and depletes us, and how to tell the difference.To begin, we have to identify and trust our body’s sensations, and make connections with the food choices we make. Are we really hungry, or are we having cravings? What do we feel like eating when we’re tired? Are our moods and emotions appropriate to a situation, or are they unstable depending on what kind of food we eat?
By recognizing how our choices make us feel, we are able to consciously make choices that will nourish us.When we truly learn to listen, we can discover the pathway to a life that supports our vision. Listening to our bodies will eventually allow us to make choices that transform our relationships with our bodies, our health, and our authentic selves.
At Conscious Wellness, we provide tools and support to help us listen to the body’s wisdom and trust that it will guide us on a path of wholeness and wellness. One tool that can be used to facilitate this process is the Conscious Wellness Diary. By developing the awareness of our bodies, noticing when our bodies are nourished or depleted, we transform the relationship we have with ourselves.
Thank you for reading this post. We hope that it was useful to you. If you are interested in further support, please contact us.
This lightly sweet pudding, reminiscent of tapioca, makes a delicious breakfast or snack.
Superfood puddingIt is easy to prepare, though it does need to rest for several hours or over night. Chia and blueberries are both considered “superfoods” for their health benefits. Blueberries are, high in vitamins and have anti-inflammatory properties. There is promising new evidence that blueberries can improve memory and slow down or postpone the onset of cognitive problems. Blueberries are rich in antioxidant nutrients. By reducing the risk of oxidative stress in our nerve cells, it has been reported that blueberries support us in maintaining smoothly functioning nerve cells and healthy cognitive function. Chia has an abundance of Omega-3 fats as well as being high in calcium and manganese. image source
Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Mix the coconut milk, Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, chia, vanilla and Himalayan salt. Cover and refrigerate 8–12 hours, stirring occasionally.
Mix the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Stir in almonds.
ServeServe in dishes with alternating layers of chia mixture and berries.
Preparation:15 minutes plus 12 hours to set up
This lovely, bright salad is a great introduction to the peppery and lovely watercress.
Watercress is a humble, cruciferous, aquatic green leafy vegetable eaten since ancient times. Long considered food for the lower classes, it has only recently regained popularity due to its high nutritional value. Watercress provides numerous health benefits, including cancer prevention, blood pressure regulation and healthy bone support. It is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, iron, calcium and folate. Among other benefits, an increase in folate consumption has been shown to improve cognition and verbal fluency – good news for prevention of cognitive decline!
Prepare watercress by rinsing in cold water, then removing and yellowed or limp leaves. Trim excess stems. Peel slice avocado. Finely slice sweet onion. Seed pomegranate.
Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently.
Toss watercress with enough dressing to coat, stir in onion, pomegranate seeds and almonds.
Divide watercress among plates, garnish with avocado slices.