Learn From My Mistakes
On my journey of self-awareness over the past couple years, I've been shocked by how poorly I dealt with life's challenges. Little things could send me into deep unrest in my soul. For those who have experienced this type of life imbalance, it can show itself with anxiety, tightness in the chest, depression, tight muscles, headaches, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate/palpitations, brain fog, fatigue, trouble sleeping and trouble within relationships in general. Here are few things I learned through a difficult season.
Build In Rest
One of the eye-opening moments for me was learning about how crucial stopping and resting was. I mentioned a couple of books in the last newsletter that has revealed a missing vital component in my life. Specifically - a weekly Sabbath. By this I mean a 24 hour period of time that I intentionally stop working (paid and unpaid), rest (sometimes this looks like a nap or just playing on the ground with my kids), contemplating and delighting in God's creation.
I have to intentionally slow down daily and weekly so that life's blessings don't pass me by without me even noticing them. Embracing our limits as a blessing is a struggle but an absolute paradigm shift for many like myself.
Besides establishing some healthier rhythms of rest in my daily and weekly routine, I have also noticed that without intentionality, I don't take deep breaths. When I am constantly watching the clock to stay on task, it's as if my body is sensing it's always under pressure and therefore breathing naturally gets faster and shallower.
When I use my "Sabbath breaks" each day to slow down my breathing and delight in God's creation, the internal unrest fades away. There are many good places to learn breath work for various purposes. I love Wim Hof's approach for really strengthening the immune system and nervous system coupled with cold therapies and meditation. But even without any professional breath training, just slowing down and taking 10-20 deep breathes a few times per day can be powerful.
In a future newsletter, I will share my journey into meditation. The research on the health benefits of meditation are clear but as a Christian, I was fearful of meditation as it seemed to contradict my worldview at first glance. As I've studied God's Word and learned from others who have successfully implemented this practice into their lives, I am eager to continue growing in this vital area.
Establish Healthy Boundaries
As a people pleaser, I would say "yes" when I wanted (and needed) to say "no". This led to me leading a life that was not my own but instead a life that others wanted me to lead. Obviously, this can lead to a lot of deep frustration and resentment toward those I am attempting to love and serve. Negative emotions like anxiety, fear, and resentment cause a bombardment of inflammatory cytokines to be released throughout the body in an attempt to combat or survive the situation. Not only does this leave feeling bad but it also causes a cascade of dysfunction throughout our physical biochemistry leaving our bodies in a compromised state.
Realizing this false self I was living in has allowed me to start to establish healthier boundaries so that I can serve people more fully and without expectations of something in return. It has been a challenge to realize that it is often more loving to say "no" until we can fully say "yes." The book that has had the most impact on me is literally called "Boundaries" by Cloud and Townsend.
Please share this on to anyone you think may benefit.
Jake Duncan PA-C
Stewarding Life Wellness