This past weekend I attended The W.E.L.L. Summit: Wellness. Empowerment. Learning. Luxury. The weekend was full of talks, breakout sessions, and networking with some of the most amazing wellness professionals, self-improvement coaches, and up and coming bloggers I have had the pleasure of meeting so far on my journey with TSC. While all of the speakers and sessions were both thought provoking and amazing, this week I will be sharing some of the things I have learned with you babes over a three article series. Here we go Part 3!
The W.E.L.L. Summit Series Part 3: The Discipline of Joy- How to Be "Better than Fine" through Hard Times with Siobhan O'Connor
Siobhan O’Connor, an author, health journalist and natural beauty expert, has long dabbled in different forms of alternative and spiritual healing, but it wasn’t until her older brother died at the age of 34 that she truly learned how transformative these practices can be. Siobhan explained many different practices that we can all easily add into our lives to help us maintain a state of emotional balance and help avoid the lows we sometimes experience when we are faced with difficulty in our lives.
I know that I can totally fall victim into the “I’m fine” mentality and I am easily shaken by bumps in the road, large or small. I was really excited to hear Siobhan’s suggestions for science backed activities to add into our lives either daily, weekly, or monthly that can help keep me be more emotionally balanced no matter what comes my way. What I really appreciated from Siobhan was the recognition that life is busy and that we don’t always have time to take an hour long yoga class, sit and meditate for 30 minutes or go get acupuncture or a massage in the middle of the day, and that she shared tips that even New Yorkers can manage to fit into their busy schedules. The one thing that Siobhan did emphasize, however, is that we should pick things that we can reliably do (no matter how small) for the benefits of joy to come flowing through when we need them most.
I am going to share with you all an exercise that Siobhan asked us to do. We were all asked to pick two or more items from the following that we would commit to doing daily, even if only for a few minutes a day: a gratitude journal, meditation, breathing exercises, light stretching, mantra (a mantra is a word you chose to say to yourself when certain negative thoughts enter your head, by using your mantra you transition your brain back to a better place, this can also be used with certain smells or sights as well), aromatherapy, flower essences, sleep ritual, or journaling. She then asked that we choose one of more of the following to do once a week: call a friend, go to therapy, massage, face mask, mani-pedi, a phone detox, restorative yoga, music-free run, or walking mediation. Lastly, we were asked to pick two or more of the following to do two or more times a month: massage, acupuncture, reiki, get into nature, volunteer, finish a book, full day in pajamas, or play hooky.
I personally chose (1) to meditate, do breathing exercises, and write in a gratitude journal every day; (2) call a friend once a week; and (3) get a massage and finish a book monthly. I have been doing each of these things on and off for the past year and I am excited to see how implementing them reliably and consistently can change my mind, attitude and body for the best.
Now, some of you might be saying “that is all too Om for me” or “I’m not into hippy shit like that,” but remember that these are all science backed principles and some of these ideas or practices can be invoked in ways you haven’t even considered. For example, if you are at the gym, you may get scared that you can’t add more weight to a lift or bump up your speed on the treadmill, there is a little voice in your head telling you “I can’t.” Now what if you immediately shot that little voice down by saying “I can,” don’t you think that would improve your training? Now that you see how one of these items can be used in a way that pushes you forward, I challenge you to try some of the others that may make you more uncomfortable at first.