Friday, October 17, 2008

Top 10 Wellness Activities (6-10)

This is the second part of the list of top 10 wellness activities that I regularly pursue.

6. Reading uplifting books on healing and related topics. One of my constant activities is reading a host of uplifting books on healing, spirituality, wellness, and related topics. There are always wonderful tidbits I pick up, which I either may not have thought about before, or which I've learned about but forgotten. I'm currently reading: If the Buddha Got Stuck: A Handbook for Change on a Spiritual Path by Dr. Charlotte Kasl. I wrote about it a few weeks ago and as I mentioned, the author provides simple yet sound advice.

FYI...I no longer read any books about bipolar disorder or depression. What I learned a long time ago was that most books on the topic (and for years I read everything that was published) are so negative and downbeat that they're not at all helpful. I am now firmly convinced that if I read and think about wellness, I'll be well. But if I dwell on illness, it will make me ill.

7. Keeping a mood chart and journal. I've written about this many times and there is no need to belabor it. But I still keep a daily mood chart and journal. The journal is helpful because it enables me to chronicle my life. And while I no longer need the mood chart to figure out patterns of behavior, and things that trigger depression, I do know that if I ever take a downturn, the mood charts will allow me to figure out why.

8. Eating nutritional food. This is a no brainer. We all know "we are what we eat." I'm blessed because my husband is a wonderful cook and he's the one who markets and cooks. But, we both know we feel better if we eat nutritional food. It's not that I don't occasionally eat junk food, but not on a daily basis. I also know that, for me, drinking water is very important. I carry a water bottle with me (a metal one so I don't contribute to planetary waste by using plastic bottles), and probably drink about eight glasses a day.

9. Praying. Since this is a secular blog, I rarely talk about religion, but I do pray with regularity. I'm so very grateful I'm well and I frequently thank God. One of the best books I ever read about praying was written by Malcolm Boyd, a family friend who's a gay Episcopal priest. In Are You Running with Me, Jesus? he talks about prayer as being conversations with God. You don't have to read a prayer book. You don't have to be in a church or temple. You can just talk to God when you're running, cooking, or doing your daily activities. (While I'm Jewish, I share Malcolm's attitude about the importance of communicating with God in a casual way.)

10. Stress reduction and relaxation techniques. Many of the things I do are somewhat related to stress reduction. If I'm tense, I do breathing exercises or blow my harmonica. If I'm worried about something, I take a walk. If I feel a bit down, I clear my mind, and think about all the things I'm grateful for. If I feel unhappy, I watch an upbeat film or listen to music I like.

Most of all, I concentrate on feeling well. Over time, I have learned that life is too short to dwell on negative things or spend time with negative people. I have always been an optimist by nature, and even when I was ill, I felt hopeful that some day I would be well. Now that I am, I feel so lucky and so grateful that I hesitate to waste a moment of my time with people who don't have a positive outlook on life.


jipps76 said...

Dear Susan,

Thank you for sharing your top 10 wellness activities. I'm wondering if you compiled your list in random order or do you tend to focus on those activities in that sequence?

Also, do you use a specific format for your mood charts? I try to keep track of my mood and feelings as often as possible. Doing so would be made easier if there is a better, more organized way to do so.

Many thanks,

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Josh,
My list is in a random order although I do most of these activities every day. The mood chart is very important and I've written a series on it. See Bipolar Moods Charts (June 23-27). I keep it in my Day-Timer.

If I'm the least bit down, I immediately spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun because I know it helps me. When I worked in an organizational setting, I would go outside and take a walk around the block, or spend my lunch hour outside.

I try and exercise every day because I also know it helps me. If I'm not playing badminton, I try to walk. If I don't feel like walking, I try to jump rope.

I play an instrument every day because I enjoy it, and I believe that singing is an important component of wellness for me.

I relax by doing deep breathing exercises and blowing softly on my harmonica. I keep the harmonica in my purse. If I'm out and about and find that I'm tense or stressed, I can always find a corner and spend ten minutes blowing it very softly. I also have a harmonica neck brace (like Bob Dylan)so I can play it in the car.

Every night before I go to bed, I read something I find inspirational. It's part of my quest to continue developing techniques that help me.

I also keep a list of inspirational quotes in my Day-Timer so I can look at them if I need to while I'm out.

For me, praying is something I do a few times a day. Since it's just casual and mostly remembering to feel grateful, I do it when I think about it.

I blog five days a week, and write my posts before I go to bed. One of the values of blogging is to share information. It makes me feel good to know I'm helping others. Other value is to get things off my chest that bother me. And the third is that I have developed a "virtual support group," that I find very important.

The reasons I blog about wellness rather than illness is that I want to communicate with people who are proactive and positive rather than those who aren't.


Mariposa said...

Ok...this set is nice...but I'm still learning some of them.

I am imposing discipline on eating good foods...but can't say no to coke! But I am 85-90% vegetarian!

I read inspiration books...I read the Bible...I join Word Filled Wednesday and Thankful Thursday and it help me reflect...relax and enjoy the triumphs of so many people. So you are does help. And it had helped me and is helping me alot!

I also do yoga...though lately I get to do it only once or twice a month.

Another thing is, I do activities that makes me feel good like paint my nails...go orphanage and play with the kids there...and I am initiating this "feeding" activity in some slum areas here. Not to sound that I am capitalizing on others hardships to feel good but I'm trying to say, it's hard to feel bad and down when you are busy helping people. :)

P.J. said...

The best thing I can say, is what I often say - you are a great role model, Susan! I love that you share with us, what you've taken years to learn. If I can incorporate these things into my life now, I can live a well-life my whole-life!!

I just greatly appreciate you sharing what you've learned.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Mariposa,
I somehow knew you participated in a lot of wellness activities. And there are a number of studies that prove that yoga is a terrific way to relieve the symptoms of depression or diminish it altogether.

Volunteer work is another terrific wellness activity and I fully agree that helping others makes me feel good as well.


Wellness Writer said...

Dear PJ,
As always, thanks so much for your support. It means a lot to me. I have always felt there's no reason we have to reinvent the wheel. If someone is doing something that works, then perhaps it will work for others. But thank you for thanking me!


Merelyme said...

You have such a remarkable blog...this list is very good indeed. You are helping so many through your writing.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Merelyme,
Thanks so much. I genuinely appreciate it.


vastation said...

I don't read books on
schizophrenia either. Scz, for
me, does & doesn't exist. Like
BP, SCZ is a collection of different conditions
that vary from person to person. They are physical & mental. IMO, they will never find a successful treatment as long as they think of them as strictly mental in nature.
As a result I'm treating each
symptom as best I can while
slowly trying to improve my
overall immunity w/o any Rx.

1- Anxiety-magnesium chloride
or transdermal magnesium gave
me 70% improvement. (not OTC Mg pills/powders/liquids)This was
a physical condition b/c I
could not retain minerals.

2- Immunity/digestion-take a yr
with a good CCN.

3- Lethargy/depression-
very difficult to overcome
with or w/o meds. I found an
oral reduced glutathione that
works but even with that lack of
motivation is pervasive. It's
difficult but necessary to

4- Voices/hallucinations-
regular Rx free sleep
(if possible),no alcohol,
no coffee (a must).

5- Cognitive Impairment-breaking
routine, having routine, all
the above, cognitive therapy,
cognitive software, exercise,
REM sleep.

All of which means that SCZ
like BP does exist as a bunch
of conditions starting with
impaired immunity, and then
mental dysfunction.

Thanks for the book titles.
Maybe I'll actually read
something by ppl more
knowledgeable than myself...
just about everyone.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Vastation,
Thanks for letting us know what you're doing. Best of luck!