Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What's YOURS?

I am so fortunate that there are at least a dozen restaurants within a 10 minute walk from my home, where I can find great nourishing food at a moment's notice.  Even though it's chilly today, the clear blue skies and sunshine beckoned me outdoors.  I found a nice quiet cafe with an adjacent coffee shop where I could dine on a house-made black bean burger with a side of chilled roasted asparagus and top it off with an espresso next door while doing some planning work for Elemental Fit.  On my way home I stopped at the market where I purchased some handmade roasted butternut squash ravioli and wild mushroom sauce (hey, if you are going to indulge, indulge in the best-quality indulgence you can find!) for dinner this evening.  Getting out and about in the fresh air and sunshine makes me feel connected to my corner of the world.

Being engaged in a vital community is essential for our sense of well-being.  One of the biggest factors in determining the extent that stress will affect you physically, mentally and emotionally is directly tied to the amount of control you feel you have in your life.  Less of a feeling of control = more damaging effects of stress.  This has been discovered through studies conducted on humans AND animals (no, the animals have not been interviewed, rather it's through brain scans and blood tests of animals and humans on various rungs of the pecking order that this has been determined).  You can't really be engaged in something you feel no ownership of.  You can't really feel ownership of something that you aren't vested in.

Regardless of your status in your pecking orders (be it work, home, community or school), find a spot where you can feel some sense of control.  When my kids were very young (I had three kids in 3 1/2 years), one of the only places in my home where I felt was my own territory was my bedroom so I always purposed to make it my retreat:  no clutter, pleasant colors, peaceful surroundings.  Running became "my own" spot during the chaotic teen years of my parenting - since I knew no one would intrude on me there.  I have a friend with 4 kids who made her bathroom her "spa".  A client of mine has made her lunch "her own" since no one is around to say "yuck!" or "not THAT again!"  She can do whatever she wants.  Try to find an area in your home or an area of your life where you can exercise some control (maybe a standing date with girlfriends, a hobby or a class), and you just might be surprised to see some of those stressful feelings start to drift away.

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