One Positive New Activity
By Bonnie Diamond, LAc
|Bonnie has a
masters degree in acupuncture, and her clinic is located
in Lexington, Massachusetts. She practices a Japanese style
of acupuncture that relies on direct feedback from the body
and honors the unique qualities of each individual. Visit
her at www.bonniediamond.com
or call 781-862-0898 ext. 1 for a free consultation.
Acupuncture is about balance, both in the outside world and inside
our bodies. Yang - active, light, daytime energy - is balanced
by yin nurturing, dark, nighttime energy. When these two
opposing forces are in balance there is health. As we go through
life with its stresses and physical and emotional assaults we
find ourselves in places of imbalance.
I want to help you bring your body back into balance. The principles
that I recommend are applicable for all of us whatever our age,
our health or our socioeconomic status. My basic belief is that
we all can do things to bring ourselves closer to the goal of
balance and that health is achieved one person, one action and
one moment at a time. Balance is something that you arrive at
by slowly shifting your focus and attention, with a lot of compassion.
I dont talk about extreme interventions, or the latest
fad diet or exercise, but instead about slow and steady change.
Changes that occur day-to-day become the habits that form the
foundation of a healthy balanced life. The following steps will
take you through the process of choosing and integrating one habit
that will enhance your life in a positive way and become of this
Create Your Activity
1. Choose Wisely
Choose something you want to do, rather than something you think
you should do. Choose something that you want to do tomorrow and
will still want three years from now. Choose an activity that
you can do given the present circumstances and resources of your
life. If, for example, you want to join a gym, make sure there
is one that you can easily get to and that is open at hours that
are convenient for you. Make sure that you can afford the cost
of membership. I believe that each of us already knows of at least
one thing we can do to improve our lives. If you have a long list
of things, choose the one that feels most meaningful to you.
2. Think Small, Stay Simple
Begin with a small, achievable task rather than elaborate, unattainable
goal. Focus on the task itself. If you dream of writing a novel,
you might want to begin by setting aside a certain amount of time
each day to write. Focus on the activity, rather than the goal.
Goals are admirable, but achievable only if we focus on the activities
that are necessary for their fruition. Thoreau said, Success
usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.
3. Be Creative
Sometimes we are in situations where we are unable to do the things
we want to. Heres where creativity comes into play. If your
activity is to spend an hour each week at the ocean but you live
in landlocked Iowa, you might get a video of ocean scenes, a CD
with the sound of waves breaking on the sand, suntan lotion and
4. Commit to the Activity
Commit to spending at least one hour each week on your new activity
for the next three months. This can be 10 minutes everyday, 20
minutes three days a week or one hour once a week. If you cannot
or do not want to commit to one hour a week, choose something
else. If you are already committed to spending time each week
that supports a balanced life, than commit to bringing more attention
to that time. (See Step 10.)
5. Write It Down
There is something about the act of writing something down that
solidifies it. It serves both to define the action and as a symbol
of intent. There is a shift that happens when something goes from
idea to tangible form. There are many ways of writing something
down. You can do it very privately, on a folded up piece of paper
or in a journal. You can write something and put it on your mirror
or refrigerator. If you like, you can email me (bonniediamond
at att dot net) your action and I will check in with you in a
month to see how you are doing. Just as the action itself comes
from an inner, personal space so will the writing of it. Do what
feels right to you.
If this activity is worth doing, it is worth doing now (or at
least within this week.) This piece is often the most difficult.
Waiting for the perfect moment may mean putting off something
indefinitely. Just start now.
7. Begin Again
None of us are perfect. Our lives are complicated. Stuff unexpectedly
happens. So if you are unable for whatever reason to do your chosen
activity for a day, a week or even a month, begin again. Learn
from your experience. Sometimes it takes a few false starts to
develop a good habit. In the long run you are better off starting
again then giving up. I once read that the people who succeed
the most are also those who fail the most. Winston Churchill said,
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another
with no loss of enthusiasm.
8. Get Help
Bring into your life people who support you in your journey toward
health. Whether its a friend, a medical provider, or a significant
other. Sometimes we need help. Intervention is often necessary
to keep our bodies healthy.
9. Reward Yourself
Taking care of yourself is an accomplishment. Often, our busy
lives do not support choices that keep us healthy. Acknowledge
the time and effort you put into your new habit. Congratulate
yourself. Tell your friends. Go wild!
10. Bring Attention to Your New Habit
Rather than going through the motions, use your time each week
to connect more deeply with yourself. Good health is a sensory
experience. If you are eating healthier, take this opportunity
to fully taste your food. If you are spending an hour each week
listening to music or looking at art, fully see, fully hear. Whatever
you have chosen to do, be sure to notice your breath. We cannot
live for more than a few minutes without breathing. The quality
of our breath, the way we breathe, to a large extent determines
the quality of our lives. Whatever you are doing you are also
breathing. As you embrace your newly chosen activity, breathe
deeply into your lower abdomen.
GO BACK TO STEP ONE
Whether you have successfully integrated a new, healthy habit
into your life, experienced three difficult months, or something
in between, go back to step one. Learn from your successes as
well as your mistakes. You now have the advantage of experience.