If there were one thing and only one thing you were willing to do to get back your health, do this: get CALM.
You know how we all know that 90-year-old aunt who smokes like a chimney and is strong like a horse. And we all point to her or him as the reason living a healthy diet makes no difference….yeah well chances are she’s never super stressed or rushed around in her life and THAT’S her secret.
After hundreds of hours of research, it was so obvious to me that if my body is in “flight or fight” it won’t do anything else. It won’t digest or sleep or rebuild or procreate or anything else. It will simply try to focus on staying alive from that “tiger” chasing it. After all, that’s what killed our ancestors.
The part that was not obvious and that is still shocking to me is that today we all live constantly in this “flight or fight” mode.
Each and every one of us is constantly fighting imaginary tigers all day long, whether in traffic, arguing with our spouse, getting the bills in the mail, watching the news, reading social media posts… Don’t believe me, hook up a heart rate monitor and track it all day. You might be blown away and then become conscious and aware of your state of being.
I call it your “state of being” and not “your state of mind.” And you can’t acquire it through 15 minutes of meditation or Headspace app.
Its how you feel about the World around you, no matter what is transpiring. Its how each cell in your body is feeling at any given moment. Its how the trillions of bacteria in your gut are feeling as you go about your day. Those “nervous butterflies” or “sick to your stomach feeling” is real. It’s tangible. It’s changing your body chemistry. It’s deciding whether you are in “health creating” mode or “sickness creating” mode.
So the first, most important, and the only thing you must do, immediately, starting right now (have I convinced you yet?) is to be mindful of how you are feeling and cognitively bring yourself into a place of CALM whenever you drift away from it.
To get there you have to believe that you are loved and safe. That the World around you is kind and caring. If you believe in a God, then you have to believe that God is your personal protector.
To get there, “Don’t worry, be happy” song needs to be playing in the back of your mind all day and night, no matter what is happening to your right now.
Since most of us live in the exact opposite Universe, we have to change our core belief system as Step 1 to healing.
This was the first thing I did. And it was the toughest thing I did.
When you are hiving and rashing and losing weight and everyone’s staring at you like you’re dying, it’s very ..very.. very hard to stay CALM. But the facts were there- my body would not lift a finger to fix me if I didn’t get into the right state of CALM and healing. The only way forward was meditation.
So I tried a whole bunch of meditations from every renowned guru. I tried every app. Nothing seemed to calm my monkey mind. Not till I got to the root of the issue – until I changed my beliefs and disassociated from my body I could not get to a place of CALM. After all, I was a miserable mess of 28 symptoms, how could I be calm in such carnage.
The meditation that finally worked was Sadhguru’s “I am not the mind I am not even the body.” I would repeat just this simple chant over and over for 30 minutes twice a day. Within a week I was believing it. Another week and I had achieved a state of acceptance and relative CALM for most of the day. That began the foundation of my healing. It also lead me to yoga which I cover in the MOVEMENT section of the Health Pyramid.
There was one more thing. Its funny how we can go about our lives with one belief system and someone says something innocuous and it tilts our World in another direction effortlessly. On an episode of Blacklist, one of the actors says in the midst of a tragic climax something to the effect, “God loves us and only gives us that which we can handle.”
I’m sure I had heard it before without a moment of thought. But this time something clicked and my mind decided to believe it without question.
This sense of stillness, like an inner deep sigh, pervaded all over.
“I can handle this, its just a passing experience.”
Till today I carry that calm stillnes, gone are the emotionally frantic reactions to life’s daily drama.
My #1 tool for CALM is journaling daily. I started initially tracking what I was eating, thinking, feeling, adding, removing, testing as it was too overwhelming to manage with all my brain fog. But soon it turned into something more powerful than an analytical exercise. It became my go-to best friend that I was sharing everything with. In fact, it became so instrumental that I created a better journal for myself as what was out there was either ugly or boring, I call it My Heal Journal and it’s my #1 tool for getting to calm. I recommend you start your day by writing a word of gratitude and end your day by writing a word of gratitude in your journal. There’s so much science to back the fact that evoking gratitude rewires our monkey brain away from stress.
Gratitude is like a warm blanket on your shivering body.
My #2 tool for Calm is breath work. Your breath is your life essence. Its what gives the signals to your body about whats transpiring outside of you. Just as you can fool your body into thinking it’s being chased by a tiger through rush hour rage, you can fool your body into thinking it’s lying on a hammock on a balmy beach sipping Mojitos. Deep long belly breathing is scientifically proven to bring down cortisol, blood pressure and even insulin spikes. My breath work is simple: close your eyes and breathe in deeply to the count of 10, then hold your breath for the count of 5 and let us very slowly to a count of 15 or 20 and hold to a count of 8 to 10. If these counts are too long, start shorter but always exhale longer than your inhale and pauses are 50% of the count of inhalation and exhalation on either end. In our Bootcamps, we send daily curated meditations and breath work so you have new and exciting ways to get to Calm.
My #3 tool for Calm is sitting in the sun. There’s something magical about soaking in the sun with your feet on the ground or grass. There are hundreds of chemical reactions that take place when we are in the sun and each and every one of them reassures your body that you’re safe. There is more correlation between lack of sun exposure and cancer, depression, autoimmune disease than anything else. Sunshine is a pharmacy that’s free, waiting for you to come in and redeem your medicine. Do it daily. Combine it with your lunch or morning smoothie and gratitude journaling.
My #4 tool for Calm is self-massage. There’s something magical about self-massage that you won’t believe until you start doing it consistently. Now we really should have known this given we massage newborns to help them thrive and most Asian countries have an obsession with massages. In India, we called it Abhyanga and there’s a whole science to it including which oil to use to calm down you’re messed up imbalanced Dosha. Sesame oil if you’re feeling anxious, agitated or suffering from insomnia. Coconut oil if you’re feeling irritable, angry, rashy. The best part is it takes less than 10 minutes with a dry brush and creates a calming effect for hours after.
I came up with a little trick where every time I went to the hospital for some test and was feeling jittery about the results (as in my teeth were starting to chatter) I would head outside in the sun and massage my arms as I did my deep belly breathing. Within 10 minutes I would be back to feeling warm, safe and Calm.
So don’t knock it till you try it! Give the above three a week and let me know if they worked for you!
My #5 tool for Calm is walking in nature. There are thousands of studies on the power of a nature walk (without cell phones by the way) to bring down cortisol. Even a 30-minute slow walk in the sun can put you in the magical heal zone than most supplements.
The other tools I swear by are:
- Drinking any warm herbal tea with a touch of honey
- Removing garlic, onion, alcohol and other “heating and agitating” foods from your diet (per Ayurveda)
- Taking a picture of 3 things that make you smile and keep them on your cell phone for an emergency!
This base foundation of CALM has a second component: mentally committing and believing you are getting healthy. More importantly, loving yourself and making yourself a priority. Without these in place, the rest of the healing pyramid falls apart.
NOTHING will work if you are convinced you are not going to get better. If you don’t love yourself. If you don’t make YOU a priority.
Or if you somehow believe you need to be sick or should be sick. This sounds shocking but there are many of us who fall sick because of some belief around some incident that makes us subconsciously want to be sick. Still not convinced? Remember that scary final or project that literally made you throw up in Middle School? Or that tummy ache or a headache that emerged out of fear of something? Children often experience physical symptoms of mental fears and so do adults.
Do you have a job you hate or a boss you want gone? Your symptoms could be your body’s way of dealing with repressed anger, anxiety, helplessness or fear. As part of this foundation, you must deal with your “state of mind” and you must commit to “health”.
There are several free Youtube videos on subliminal meditations to help you reprogram your mind to health. If you join one of our HealthBootcamps you can receive a daily curated meditation to help you!
Getting to CALM is just phase 1 of the foundation.
Phase 2 of CALM is CONTROL or activating your mind to heal you.
I now have proof from my own experience that your mind is the most powerful healer, a proverbial pharmacy that can cure anything. Studies on placebo effects prove my assertion. You just have to believe it, envision it and feel it for real.
Even if that’s not your reality today.
Even if you have late-stage cancer or are on insulin shots or being told you need stents. I will be sharing all the science and research behind this phase of CALM in my upcoming book: HEALED. If you would like to get free chapters or be part of my Friends Club and get a free digital copy when its released click here.
This phase is really all about THOUGHT CONTROL. Your thoughts are “things” with instant impact on each cell in your body.
Don’t believe me?
Think of chewing on a raw yellow lemon, imagine its sour juices on your tongue… the tang on your teeth…do you feel saliva pooling in your mouth? Yes, that’s the power of a simple thought to create an instant reaction in your body.
There is science behind the statement “our brain has a pharmacy just waiting to create the right medicine”. The documentary, “What the bleep do we know” covers this in great detail along with all critical insights into healing through thoughts.
In phase 2 of CONTROL, your mission is to train your brain for thought selection. You decide which thought to think and which to abandon. Then you focus your thoughts on health and healing while believing that “health is your birthright”. This was a significant part of my early days of healing- learning to stop counting and reacting to my symptoms, instead choosing to believe that they were all gone.
Yes, somedays I did feel delusional and maybe a little mad as I sat around repeating, “I am the healthiest person on this planet.”
But I truly believe in “nerves that fire together wire together” and the only way to build that reality is to “fake it till you make it.” Not sure what the heck I am talking about, please watch the documentary, “What the bleep do we know” which reveals the science behind all my assertions and shares additional insights into healing through thoughts, quantum physical style!
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