This week’s Strategy for Success is centered around Spirit.
Huh?! How does that relate to mental health?
Quite a bit, actually! To start, let’s look at the definition of Spirit according to Oxford: “An animating or vital principle; the immaterial or sentient element of a person.”
The conversation around Spirit could be considered controversial if we get caught in the “us” versus “them” in a religious perspective. Whatever you believe or do not believe is welcomed in our outlook. If you hold the standpoint of Spirit being an essential dynamic part of what makes you uniquely you, one can see how it could be integral to overall wellness.
Believe or Live to Be
The word describes what it is: to bring to life or ‘make true’ your thoughts.
Belief is a crucial consideration in how we achieve mental and overall wellness. However, what we believe is literally encoded in our bodies. Best-selling author and stem cell biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton, PhD. studied epigenetics and how what we think impacts our cellular biology. He discovered that our cells have an outer layer that is equivalent to a computer chip’s homolog. In other words, our cells have a brain! Dr. Lipton demonstrates that our thoughts and higher visioning can control the behavior and physiology of these cells like an on and off switch of our genetic code, doing things like reducing inflammation, increasing our emotional resilience, and improving our immune system.
So, What Does That Mean?
It means that we get tangible results when we clean up that messy mind! If we are closed off and engaging in negative thought patterns, our bodies would reflect them. As a result, we might get sick more often, feel tired, and overall unhappy.
The upside of all this is that the more we engage in visioning, positive thinking, and openness, the more our entire system will become that frequency. We will be more aware, mindful, and open to the possibilities and good things around us and receive connections at deeper levels. Activating these thoughts engages both our brain’s frontal lobes and our hearts.
To Live Happily- Open your Hearts!
Famous psychologist, professor, yogi, and Guru, Baba Ram Das (Richard Alpert, PhD.) was known for many things, especially his teachings on love and kindness. He wrote about activating our present mind and encouraged us to be aware of what our mind rests on, similarly to Dr. Lipton. Ram Das encouraged us to open our “spiritual hearts” by focusing our attention on the middle of our chests and tuning into what it feels like in our bodies. He emphasized the importance of stepping outside our “ego,” or that sense of self-importance and self-consciousness, to be aware of genuinely loving everyone around us. If we can activate this part of ourselves, we can see the magnificence of others around us and, as Ram Das explains, “be in love with everyone you look at.”
Love, Love, Love…
The Beatles had it right. Love is among the many things we need! Barbara Frederickson, PhD., a famous Social Psychologist, studied the science of emotions, particularly love and joy. She developed a theory on positive emotions called “Broaden and Build Theory.” She proved that positive emotions play an essential role in our survival. Positive emotions, like love, joy, and gratitude, promote new and creative actions, ideas, and social bonds. Amazing Right?!
So go forth in your week and amplify those positive feelings. Pay attention to things you enjoy. Look into a loved ones eyes or picture and send them back those good feelings. Be grateful and tune into the many strengths and good things you have. If you can find one or two, you are on your way.
This week’s Lesson:
- Change the channel. —Take some time to tune into what channel your mind is set on and think of the things that bring you joy.
- Do some mindful meditations of the heart, spending some time breathing and being aware of what it could feel like to open yourself up to more positive thinking.
- Smile at others and see if you can notice the magnificence of your fellow human. Notice what you enjoy, like, and even love about others.
- Delight in the person next to you in traffic dancing excitedly to their favorite jam in their car.
- Love the persons’ contagious laughter in the restaurant.
- Notice the person on the train engrossed in a book and let yourself enjoy their love of reading.