Best Things For the Soul...
Any physical activity which gets the heart pumping (cardio) releases neurotransmitters in the brain which are responsible for motivation and reward. This in turn makes you feel positive, and we all know how important motivation is and how it affects us. If you feel motivated you feel a desire to do something, you might feel inspired or enthusiastic also.
Getting your blood pumping is also vital for circulation, which has a knock-on effect to other things, such as making your skin and hair healthier (as more oxygen and nutrients reach the cells etc).
Going for a walk or a jog is a good free way to get your blood pumping. Dance is also very good, and the creative aspect of dance also helps you express yourself which is really healthy.
Producing or viewing art is good for you. Producing it is good for expressing and exploring your emotions, and viewing it is good for a bit of inspiration. Either way, thinking outside the box is good for you, and anything from splashing a bit of colour around, to producing a masterpiece is enjoyable and good for you.
Crafts are also good, a little bit of sewing or jewellery-making never hurt anyone... Apart from using a needle maybe!
The thing about arts and crafts is that if you've got alot of thinking, or mulling things over to do, it enables that without compromising your thought processes, because it uses the motor skills and spacial awareness, and doesn't use the language part of the brain - leaving it free to wonder, and talk if you've got company.
Good manual work like kneeding bread, and mashing potatoes can be a good physical task to allow you to express any pent-up aggression! It also feels good to make fresh, home-made food, and it feels even better to eat it.
Cooking is also a good practical task which doesn't require language or verbal thought-processes (as above).
Animals and children have the ability to provide us with an enormous amount of perspective. The cuteness and cuddliness seem to make seemingly complicated troubles and woes ebb away. The instinct we have for protecting and caring for children and pets often takes on a powerful nature, over-taking our need to analyse and over-think everyday troubles.
Pets and children are also good for greiving and berieved people because they offer a little bit of escapeism - they have an agenda of their own and it can be refreshing to interact with them on a basic and totally different level than when you are talking to understanding adults.
SleepSleep is a fundamental human need, and without it we become emotionally, psychologically and physiologically dysfunctional. Just look at any sleep-deprivation study and it will tell you what you need to know. Sleep is our body's way of healing, our mind's way of consolidating, our brain's way of re-generating. This is absolutley key to mental stability and emotional wellbeing.
After a good night's sleep, even the most complicated and deeply-etched troubles can seem far clearer and simpler. Okay they don't go away, but they do seem simpler, and if you've ever been consumed with worry or stress, you will know that this alone is valuable.
Friends & FamilyFriends and family who make us feel good about ourselves, and whom we can be nothing but ourselves around are extremely good for us. With the stresses and demands of life, we can sometimes forget ourselves. Not who we are, but we can come close. Especially when we start a new job or course, and have to make new friends, or experience a break-up, or lose a loved-one.
When someone experiences change on such a level, they can be swept away with how they are expected to think or behave, and find themselves questioning themselves. Familiar friends and family have the wonderful ability to remind us what we are worth, and what we are about.
A natural environment can give you a great sense of perspective and refresh your mindset. It must be in our genetic make-up. All this technology and infrastructure of the modern world just has an edge of the unnatural about it. Getting outdoors, breathing in some fresh air and surrounding yourself with a clean, natural environment helps to give you a sense of perspective about the world and your place in it.
Text and Images Copyright © Lise Griffiths, 2012
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