Pursuing wellness is easier with the "right" state of mind.
Does the thought of creating a wellness plan trigger fears of deprivation, pain and suffering? You may worry about a diet free from unhealthy foods, the physical pain involved in starting an exercise program or the suffering of trying to make good choices when it would be so much easier to have that drink, smoke that cigarette or enjoy that chocolate cake.
As much as you try to avoid it, you can't help but notice that, in the news again, is the advice to eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat and sugar. It's time to take that advice to heart.
With heartfelt caring for your mind, body and spirit, I suggest an Eastern approach to practicing wellness and high self-esteem. I borrow from the Buddhist Eight-fold Path, tenets to apply to your wellness plan. May it ease your suffering and enliven your plan to try:
1. Right Speech.
Stop undermining your plan by being wishy washy about how many times a week you'll get to the gym or whether you can really live without your favorite fast food. Instead, remember if you talk the talk, walking the walk will not be far behind.
A great start is to say out loud, "I will get to the gym four times a week." Say it to as many people as you can and you will start believing. Enter it in your planner.
2. Right Action.
Right action means you do the next right thing, whether it's not eating the ice cream that somehow snuck into your freezer, or accepting the offer to go hiking or attend a community meditation group.
When it comes to wellness, my clients generally know the next right thing. There are no moral dilemmas here...you know how to make good choices.
3. Right Livelihood.
About being honest and doing no harm, applying right livelihood to your wellness plan might mean looking for the new job that will be less stressful because it's more in line with your values. Less stress equals more wellness.
It could be taking on a volunteer gig because it will feel like a contribution to your community, or something as simple as having drinks (healthy smoothies preferably) with your BFF after work because it will be relaxing and fun.
5. Right Intention.
As the Buddhist renounces worldly goods and embraces nonviolence to all living things, you must embrace your gym membership and renounce your next pair of shoes if your budget so requires.
Practice nonviolence vis-a-vis your body by keeping it free of all things toxic and treating it with the care it deserves. Ergo, no excessive alcohol, sweets or fats, no smokes and the embrace of all exercise and peaceful enterprises are your new intentions.
5. Right Understanding.
Seeing things as they really are, or right understanding, is a useful perspective for your wellness plan. Whether it's dropping the notion that existing on a diet of junk food is not really a problem, or telling yourself that stress is part of life and there's nothing you can do about it, being realistic will help you move in the right direction.
You know the ways you rationalize away poor choices. It's time to revisit your thinking.
6. Right Effort.
Embracing the good and useful while relinquishing the harmful and negative are wonderful to aspire to when practicing right effort. How many times have you fallen off the wagon only to give up completely, feeling yourself a failure? Instead, accept the momentary lapse and continue with right effort and with self-compassion, moving forward toward your goals.
7. Right Concentration.
Equanimity, the ability to accept what life throws your way, is the key to right concentration. It also refers to a singleness of mind useful in goal attainment. Keep your wellness goals clearly in sight and pursue those goals despite all obstacles.
8. Right Mindfulness.
Keeping the mind focused on the present without judgment is difficult but so helpful in all wellness endeavors. With awareness we can notice our temptations and missteps without being self-critical. If you've had a particularly distracting day, tomorrow is another day in which you can be present in the moment.
There may be pain, but it will pass. Things you thought you absolutely, positively needed to be happy are often unnecessary. You will get out what you put into your wellness plan. It's karma...what goes around comes around. So what's the first step in your wellness path?
Judith Tutin, PhD, ACC, is a licensed psychologist and certified life coach. Connect with her at drjudithtutin.com where you can request a free coaching call to bring more passion, fun and wellness to your life.