I often hear that people want to increase their metabolism, but for many people it is actually better to slow it down. First of all, why do you want to have a fast metabolism? You are probably thinking that if it is fast, then you can lose those extra pounds. But what if you can get rid of them permanently by slowing down your metabolism, changing your lifestyle and as a side effect actually becoming happier?
Imagine you just bought a beautiful Ferrari. Would you be taking it out every day to run your errands? Would you be driving it as much as possible? Would you be putting extra miles on and shorting its lifespan or would you be saving it for special occasions so that it will last longer? But what about our bodies? Why do we feed them more calories than they need, then work out every day to get rid of the ingested food?
From the perspective of the dealership, they would want you to drive your car to the ground so that they can sell you a new one. From the perspective of food and fitness industries, they want you eat more so that you can exercise more. But is that what you actually want? Do you actually enjoy the vicious cycle of eating and exercising? Why do you put extra stress on your body with too much food and then with too much exercise?
Our bodies are more precious than any car in the world, so why do so many people want to wear them out so quickly? From the research that I have done on thousand-year old cultures, as such as India and Japan, it seems that people who live the longest don't eat too much, eat at the most three times a day and don't vigorously exercise to burn off the excess, simply because there is no excess. They eat and exercise in moderation.
They don't stress their bodies with too much food or too much activity.If you are tired of feeling like a hamster spinning the wheel, then try something new. Take a few weeks to retrain yourself to eat only until satisfied, not stuffed, and only three times a day. Don't snack. Don't punish yourself with exercise. Take time to find out what feeds your soul that's not food, such as hobbies, time with friends and family, relaxation techniques. Slow down the fast pace that you may be experiencing in your life and breath. You may find that those pesky pounds are melting away faster than you imagined and with less effort.
MEDITATION. To be honest when my parents first suggested I give it a try, I got more anxious and nervous than I was to begin with. The idea of sitting still, relaxing my body and stopping all of my thoughts terrified me. As a busy professional, it is extremely hard to find the time to meditate.
We all know that meditation can significantly improve our health, our mood and our overall wellbeing. We know that we should do it, but we simply don’t have the time to learn, not even mentioning practice it daily. But after examining the concept in simple terms and applying the “according to shopping” example, meditation now doesn’t seem that complicated.
In the mall, one of my favorite pleasures often happens in between shopping – catching up at the Starbucks with my best friend. It may not be a long time, but it is very important for me to see her, see what she is up to, listen to her and then have her listen to me when I tell her what’s on my mind. When it comes to seeing my friend and having Starbucks with her, I find it to be a simple and enjoyable way to relax.
It’s not a rocket science to chat with a friend. There is no pressure and we don’t feel guilty about taking time for this simple pleasure in life. Friends are the support in our daily life and we know that it is vital that we spend time with them. So, why not look at meditation as "having Starbucks with yourself"?
When you are going through the mall of your life and feel overwhelmed, tired, anxious and depleted, take a few minutes out of your day and catch up with yourself. The point of meditation is to become aware of the thoughts in your mind and sensations in your body. I think that a basic beginner’s meditation is nothing more than having a dialogue with yourself as you would with a best friend.
It can be anywhere that’s convenient for you – either at an actual Starbucks (but it has to be quiet enough to have the dialogue), in your own kitchen over a cup of coffee or tea in the morning when no one is up yet, in the middle of the afternoon in your office or anywhere else where you can just sit down and be by yourself for a few minutes. You start by asking yourself “How do you feel, sweetheart? How do your neck and shoulders feel today? How are your arms? Stomach? Legs? Toes? Is there any tension that’s bothering you? What’s on your mind these days?
Then, as a good friend would, you listen. You listen to whatever comes up in your mind and your body. You become aware of the sensations and the thoughts. And then you tell yourself that it is ok to have the thoughts that worry you and it is ok have the aches and pains. You observe. You soothe yourself with calmness that everything will be ok. You tell yourself that you love yourself and send love to each body part to release the tension and the pain.
This is not the time to find solutions, this is the time to be a good friend to yourself by just listening and sending love. Be there for yourself to let go of the negative thoughts and then give positive affirmations about your self-worth that will inspire you for the day, just like a good friend would. Then you thank yourself for taking the time for the mental “Starbucks” and you move on with your day.
If our best friends deserve our attention to listen to them and calm them, then there is no reason that we can’t do the same for ourselves. After all, you have to live with yourself 24/7, so why not give you the love and attention we deserve? Oftentimes we bail on our own selves and forget to check in to see how we are doing. By having “Starbucks” with yourself, you become aware of what’s going on inside your body and mind, and to me this awareness is the essence of meditation.
I hope this helps you to discover that you too can find the time to have a “Starbucks” with yourself and that you too deserve the love and attention you give to your best friend. Gives it a try this week and do it everyday. I am sure you will feel much calmer, relaxed and loved.
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