The Wednesday Word is: STIMULATE

These are unprecedented times. For weeks many people have had to shelter in place. We find ourselves longing for connection, seeking stimulation and eager to engage in our usual activities. Now, more than ever, the importance of making best choices to stimulate our physical, emotional and intellectual needs is the key to maintaining a healthy, happy you. Are you making healthy stimulating choices, such as exercising at home, making better meal choices and spending time doing tasks you thought you didn’t have time for? Are you allowing yourself time to breathe, relax, be still and attend to your feelings, both internally and externally?

The mind-body connection is strong. What we accept into our minds affects our bodies and visa versa. Making best choices, especially right now, could make all the difference in the world of how you come out of this crisis. Every one has their preferences and peccadilloes, of how to cope in crisis. Some choose to exercise instead of ingest alcohol and may reap better rewards and actually be stimulated. Many people drink alcohol as a means for stimulation – to relax and unwind, when, in fact, overconsumption of alcohol has depressive qualities, and slows down the mind-body connection. Making better choices to relax and unwind, such as exercising, doing meditation or yoga, will provide the stimulation you desire while improving your health.

How we spend our time matters. Doing something or doing nothing may be exactly what we need, but to know which, we need to listen to our minds and our bodies, and sometimes our spirits.

Some people are loving the shelter in place as they are not social creatures and this suits their way of living just fine. Some people are used to not engaging outwardly and need to additional means of adapting. Others, however, may feel lonely not being able to engage with friends. One way people are stimulating their need for connection is holding online get togethers via social media. This is a great way to engage with friends and stay in touch while we shelter in place.

I know many of people have been at home with loved ones for weeks on end now. As engaging as these loved ones can be, too much of a good thing can be overstimulating or unnerving. It is important to take time for yourself to avoid saying things to one another which could cause more strife or become a circular argument with no positive resolution. Some people find arguing stimulating. While it may feel stimulating, arguing is not healthy communication, nor is it good for you. Arguing can activate the amygdala, releasing the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol can lead to slowed healing and excess weight gain. Screaming will actually damage your vocal chords and all this can cause your breathing to be be sporadic, causing your chest to tighten… So chill. There is nothing stimulating about any of that. The temporary high you think you feel while amidst an argument will be short lived if you are thrown into a panic attack, or worse.

Rather than give in to the hopelessness and despair, understand that you are neither on standby nor stuck. Reframe how you see your situation. Instead of being stuck at home, reframe your thoughts and words to, I am safe at home. Rather than stimulate your environment or self with overconsumption of unhealthy choices, make a better choice.

You have options. While it might seem like your options are like choosing the lesser of two evils, you always have another option. Choose wisely.

Regarding communication, one other positive option is silence or not reacting. There are many healing properties in doing so. Having an increased presence on social media may make you feel connected, but we can find ourselves becoming overstimulated by too much information or opinions which infuriate us. Often we do not realize the the healing qualities in silence or not being reactive because so much of our world is overstimulated. It becomes a built in behavior to feel the need to respond. Well, I am granting you permission to be still, do nothing, say nothing — and see how it changes you for the better. When was the last time you enjoyed the stimulation of doing nothing, silently? Could you use a little of that type of stimulation right now? There is no better time than now to make a positive change in your life.

Overstimulation is overrated and unhealthy. According to the article in INC. magazine by Jessica Stillman entitled: The Incredible Brain Benefits of Silence — “In the mid 20th century, epidemiologists discovered correlations between high blood pressure and chronic noise sources like highways and airports. Later research seemed to link noise to increased rates of sleep loss, heart disease, and tinnitus…” Being still, taking time to be mindful of what matters most, making better choices, and understanding your true needs are keys to quality health.

So you see, you have options for stimulation that are within best practices. Being sheltered safely inside your home and enjoying your time with self and family can be of great, stimulating benefit. And while exercise, being active or spending time in silence are among best practices, so is doing nothing. This does not emphasize the idea of being or becoming sedentary. Instead, become aware of your mind-body connection and know how you feel and what you need, both internally and externally. In order to stay well you also need to rest. Avoid becoming overstimulated too close to bedtime. A good night’s rest is a wonderful foundation for a healthy, happy you. Give yourself permission to make the most of this time. If that means taking to tasks you now have time for, great! If that means giving yourself permission to rest and rejuvenate, wonderful!

What can you give yourself permission to do or not do today? How can you make choices today to help positively stimulate your mind-body connection and live the life you deserve right now?

Be well. <3

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