Friday, July 08, 2005

100 Things I'm Gonna Do Today (1-10)

I'm making a little list of all the habits I want to build/have built into my life. It's going to evolve into a little book and a PodCast. I'll share them with you as I go. Here are the first 10:

1. Grow. We’re either growing or dying—either stepping forward into growth or back into safety. My vote: let’s grow. Seize every moment as another opportunity to expand your soul. Grow! Grow! Grow!

2. Dream. In the words of one of my favorite teachers, James Allen:

“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”

So, what are you dreaming of today?

3. Floss. Not kidding. It’s all about the little things, I’m telling ya! A number of years ago I asked a mentor of mine what one thing he would recommend. His advice: Do the little things to the best of your ability—from putting a sock straight in the hamper to washing your dishes immediately to flossing your teeth. His point: there are no little things and when you get in the habit of living at your highest potential with the mundane things, it becomes second nature for the bigger stuff.

So, floss your teeth. It’ll build strong habits and even make your trip to the dentist a lot more pleasant! (Seriously: it’s fun to have a dentist tell you how good your gums look! :)

4. Breathe. Often. You know—that whole oxygen and carbon dioxide moving through your body thing. It’s a good thing. Seriously.

Stressed? Slow down. Take a deep breath in. Exhale. Ahhhh. Shoulders up! Shoulders down. Breathe in. Breathe out. Now isn’t that nice? I think so, too. So does every cell in your body that you just nourished.

Tip: Ever watch a baby breathe? Notice how their belly just goes up and down? Up and down…now that’s a nice, deep breath—that’s how you want to breathe. It’s called breathing into your diaphragm. Babies get it. Somewhere along the line, stress moved our breath up and up until we were taking shallow breaths and barely getting any air. Eek.

Try this: Put your hand on your belly. Try to keep your chest still while you make your hand on your belly move in and out. Why should you care? Because right there at the bottom of your lungs is where all the real friendly little lung guys hang out waiting to collect the most oxygen for you! (That’s the scientific description.) Seriously, breathe deeply. Increase oxygen. Reduce stress.

5. Smile. Isn’t that nice? It’s amazing what a smile can do. I once read about a study where depressed people were split into two groups—one group looked into a mirror and smiled for 30 minutes a day for 30 days. That’s it. Just looked at themselves and smiled. The other group didn’t. At the end of the study, the smilers were significantly more happy than the other group. Cool, eh? Lesson: smile. Now. Tickle tickle. Gimme a little smile, will ya?!? There ya go! That wasn’t so hard now was it? :)

6. Sweat. You get sweaty today? I hope so. Our bodies were made to move. We, uh, weren’t really designed to be sitting in front of a computer or in a car all day long. Get out and move! When you pump blood through your vessels and air through your lungs, it’s like taking your insides to a car wash. (Even comes with an air freshener…oh, wait…that comes after the shower…)

7. Be Nice. Have you ever heard about the effects of kindness on your brain? Wayne Dyer shares this amazing story in his book “Power of Intention”:

“The positive effect of kindness on the immune system and on the increased production of serotonin in the brain has been proven in research studies. Serotonin is a naturally occurring substance in the body that makes us feel more comfortable, peaceful, and even blissful. In fact, the role of most anti-depressants is to stimulate the production of serotonin chemically, helping to ease depression. Research has shown that a simple act of kindness directed toward another improves the functioning of the immune system and stimulates the production of serotonin in both the recipient of the kindness and the person extending the kindness. Even more amazing is that persons observing the act of kindness have similar beneficial results. Imagine this! Kindness extended, received, or observed beneficially impacts the physical health and feelings of everyone involved!"

That simply blows me away every time I even think about that. God rewards good behavior. So, be nice.

8. Be Grateful. Gratitude. Now that is a powerful emotion. I dare you to be depressed/angry/stressed/whatever while you’re thinking of something for which you’re grateful. It’s impossible. Go ahead. Try it. Ger really upset right now (or just wait till it happens next) then take a moment to step out of that anger/stress/depression to think of three things that make you grateful. Could be the fact that you’re alive, that listening or reading to this now or whatever. Just give yourself the gift of gratitude.

9. Drink Plenty of Water. You drinking water today? Bare minimum is 64 ounces per day—that’s 8 cups. Your body needs water for everything from releasing toxins to maintaining skin health. If you're not drinking enough water, your energy level will drop and you'll be more likely to get headaches.

Your brain and your heart are especially sensitive to even the slightest levels of dehydration. If you don't drink enough water, your blood volume will be affected, requiring your heart to pump harder to circulate blood throughout your body. The chemical and electrical signals in your brain need water. You'll feel tired and lethargic if you're thirsty.

Tip: Drink at least 8 cups of water every day for a week. You'll be surprised with the boost in your energy levels. Trust me.

10. Take Responsibility for Your Life. Are you blaming a bad job, a bad childhood, a bad relationship, or a bad whatever for where you are? Hope not. Cause if you are then you’re not helping your chances of being consistently happy.

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