Have you ever had an injury to one of your joints? Let's say you have a knee injury, and your knee swells up. You may have a hard time walking up and down the steps because your knee doesn't bend as it should; you're not as agile or as flexible. Another example of physical inflammation could be a time when you ate a lot of salty food, and the next day you feel it in your hands and feet. Physical inflammation keeps us from doing things we usually do, makes us inflexible, and is the root cause of many chronic diseases.
Emotional inflammation is similar in that we are unable to be emotionally agile or move from a negative emotion to the positive. As an example, if you see a group of friends walking down the street together laughing, instead of feeling joy, you might think dark thoughts about them spreading COVID 19 to each other. If you are at the ocean, and instead of feeling the pleasure of being in nature, you feel dread due to the threat of climate change and the rising seas, you might have emotional inflammation.
Other symptoms of emotional inflammation can include being unable to sleep, unable to wake up from sleep, scrambling from one thing to another, anxiety, and depression. Many times, we can't pinpoint what got us to that space, but we know that the pace of our world today has changed from the past. TV and media are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our cell phones ping, ding, and buzz at any moment to get our attention. We have guidelines for how quickly we should respond to an email or text message fueled by our culture's "right now" demands. We are continuously bombarded with news about the pandemic, climate change, violence in our society, political issues, racial discrimination, and our lack of freedom these days. Our inability to think positively about our world and the future of our community is another example of emotional inflammation.
So what can we do if we have emotional inflammation? The first thing is to practice self-compassion. As restrictions lift and businesses open, we are trying to find our new normal; let's try not to expect so much from ourselves. Maybe we shouldn't try and re-invent the wheel with a hard stop deadline. Instead, adopt more manageable expectations that you feel comfortable with, taking baby steps. We can also acknowledge that we're beings that live within nature. Instead of staying up late at night, staring at screens all day, eating junk food, and filling our minds with junk media, we could start reconnecting with the patterns of behavior that our body and mind crave. Below is a shortlist of ways to respond to emotional inflammation. Pick what works for you. The important part is recognizing the triggers, adjusting to the new normal with some old ways of living and thinking, and living in self-compassion.
Emotional Inflammation: Discover Your Triggers and Reclaim Your Equilibrium During Anxious Times by Lise Van Susteren and Stacey Colino
So, you're an online teacher now…
Has this statement been messing with your head? Did the transition from "classroom guru" to "online who" give you whiplash? If lately, you've been wondering who you are, you're not alone. When you meet someone new and introduce yourself, what do you say? Many times, we lead with our profession, and that gives us a sense of stability. But is that what we should do? Are we most importantly a teacher, a mother, a father, a Ph.D., or is there something else we could say that is better for our well-being?
What will happen when you retire? Hi, I'm (insert name here), I'm a retired teacher. In the book, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, Michael Singer explores our source of self and who we believe we are. In a word, he defines the self as consciousness. But since most of us aren't best buddies with Deepak Chopra or have spent time in a Tibetan monastery, lets paddle back from the deep into the shallows just a bit.
Maybe when you introduce yourself, you lead with your belief system, I'm a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew. That is a description of your faith and may explain some of your actions, but not all of them. The Center for American Progress stated that your zip code is the number one predictor of your success in achieving the American Dream. Public health scholars say your zip code is more relevant to your health than your genetics. So, are we where we live? We can all think of examples of people that grew up in less than ideal circumstances and achieved greatness. They didn't let the environment define them.
So how do you define you? Maybe instead of saying, I am my consciousness (and blow everyone's mind); we can use mindset to identify us. According to Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck having a growth mindset can get you past any hurdle. A growth mindset is a continuous learning process. An example could be someone that is facing challenges and continues to pursue the goal despite the difficulty and effort required. Those with a growth mindset have higher levels of achievement because they learn from criticism and are motivated by others' success.
Right now, say to yourself, "I'm a continuous learner." How did that make you feel? What thoughts bubble up? Did you get a glimmer of self-compassion and feel a bit kinder to yourself? Feel free to leave comments below.
My childhood home in the city of Pittsburgh. The arrow points to my bedroom window where I watched the world go by.
When one talks about financial wellbeing many times, we think about money. But according to Dr. Suzie Carmack, we can think about financial wellbeing in the categories of time, talents, and treasures. When we think about how we spend our time, we should consider all of the dimensions of wellbeing: emotional, purpose, mental, financial, and physical. Our talents could be hobbies that we've developed work skills and life skills. Treasures don't necessarily mean money; they could be what you hold close to your heart or what's important to you.
If we consider the past five weeks and the time that we've spent, how much time have you spent on things that are important to you? Although we are working from home and we have office hours, are we investing in ourselves? Is there a balance between what we need to do today and the priorities in the future?
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CSFP), no matter how much income you make, you can experience Financial wellbeing. CFPS said Financial Wellness is a highly personal state of being where there's a balance between the freedom of doing what you enjoy and being able to pay the bills as well as handle Financial crises. So when you consider financial wellness, you can ask yourself the question, "Have I felt financially secure?". We can ask ourselves, "Am I investing in myself, spending time doing things that are important to me, and balancing that with giving back to the community?
Being a permaculturalist, I think about the cycles of the Earth, including the hourly, weekly, monthly, and yearly cycles of the seasons. I consider the Earth's trip around the Sun and how that affects daylight, the temperature, how I grow food, and how I take care of my flock. In my schedule, I also consider the season of life. When I was younger, I spent my time differently than now.
So what's your vision for your financial wellness? If you made a chart listing time spent, talents, and treasures, is there a balance? Are you spending more time on things that don't make you happy? Or maybe you're spending time doing those things so that later on in life you'll have financial security.
Time-space bridging is a three breath meditation that's easy to do and might help you set your vision for your financial wellness. On the first breath, feel the breath going in through the nose and out through the nose. On the second breath, focus your eyes on a single point in the room. On the third breath, expand your vision to a panoramic view. In yoga, we say to soften the gaze. In your panoramic view, envision what you want in your future.
Interestingly, sometimes we see different things than what we thought. As an example, a woman in my yoga class thought her career was most important, a treasure that would take her to a different area of the country. But when she did the time-space bridging, what she saw was being close to family. Time-space bridging can help you develop your vision or what you want in your future. From that point, you can make a plan for how to increase your treasures by investing time in yourself and developing your talents.
Taking Care of You during the Workday
(Forehead: 6th chakra- insight)
(Crown/top of head: 7th chakra- community
(Archetypes/aura: 8th chakra- consciousness)
Designing a Genius Break with ABCE
Step 1. Assess the time you have at the moment (2-10 minutes), set your intention, and assess how your body feels at the moment.
Step 2. Breath and Bones (move with the 2/4/6/8/10 method)
Step 3. Centering communication (Self-Talk Themes)
Step 4. Experience (engage, embrace, embody, and evaluate)
Check out Dr. Suzie Carmack’s website for more information on Genius Breaks and free resources
Use this meditation to calm your central nervous system, connect to the earths energy, and bring balance to your body.
This meditation can be used during a walk or by envisioning. If you are unable to walk because of safety, physical, or emotional reasons, you can receive the benefits of this meditation through envisioning. Consider what your body would feel if you were moving. Think about the opening and closing of the joints, the contraction, and extension of the muscles, the breath flowing oxygenating the cells. Instead of seeing yourself walking, feel yourself walking to get the full effects of the vision.