Do you ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media? Hours pass by and you don't know where all that time went?
This was a habit I wanted to break a few weeks ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media! When used intentionally, social media can lead to genuine connection. In fact, I’ve met some of my best friends and business partners through social media! At the same time, it’s easy to fall into the rhythm of mindless scrolling. Not really cultivating genuine connection, but scrolling to pass the time. Well, with Covid quarantine, I realized that I was going through a phase of aimless scrolling. I knew that I wanted to spend less time scrolling and more time doing something else that nourished my soul. But, it had become such a habit to touch those little icons on my phone and check in! That's when I realized that in order to change my habit, I had to change my focus...
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You see, I kept saying to myself, "I need to spend less time scrolling." This wasn’t very motivating. If anything, it made me feel more guilty about my scrolling habit than anything else! I realized that I needed to focus on what I want, instead of what I don't want. Instead of repeating the mantra, "I need to spend less time scrolling," I sat down and made a list of all the things I wanted to do instead:
Let me give you another example:
I love coffee! At the same time, I know I get anxious if I drink too much coffee and it affects my sleep. So, a few months ago, I decided I wanted to cut back on my brew. Instead of saying, "I need to cut back on coffee," I started writing in my weekly planner "Drink more herbal teas." I decided to focus on what I wanted (the warmth and comfort of herbal tea), not on what I want less of (the jitters of drinking too much coffee!).
So, here's the life hack: Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want.
Start with the habit you're trying to break. Why are you trying to break that habit? What's the "pain" it's causing you? Is it draining you? Does it make you upset, irritable, anxious, or frustrated? Get clear on why you want to make the change in the first place.
Then, think about the opposite. How do you want to feel instead, and what can get you there? For me, aimlessly scrolling on my phone left me feeling drained. I wanted to feel nourished and energized. I know that reading, playing music, and dancing all make me feel energized and happy. So, I decided to focus on those activities instead. I wrote those down so I can see it everyday. I know that too much coffee makes me anxious. I also know that herbal teas help me feel balanced. So, I wrote down "drink herbal tea" on my weekly planner, focusing on what I want, not on what I don't want.
So, make a list now of 1-3 things that you can do instead. What are those 1-3 things you want to do more of in your life? That make you feel good, happy, strong, and energetic. Write those on a sheet of paper or index card and put it somewhere that you'll see it daily. And then, practice self-compassion. As you begin to integrate some of these new activities into your life, you may have some setbacks and that's ok. The fact is if you're doing more of these new activities, even for a few minutes a day, that's progress and you'll notice a change in how you feel. Celebrate it! And, come back here to leave a comment with your wins, so I can help you celebrate too!!
I recently met Dr. Jeanne Rosner (virtually, of course! still social-distancing over here!). She's the founder of Soul Food Salon and hosts a weekly segment called Wellness On The Weekend. She invited me to share a little about Ayurveda on her recent program. In this interview, I answered the questions:
1. What is Ayurveda?
2. How do you apply Ayurveda in your daily life?
3. Are there studies that prove Ayurveda works?
4. Can you combine Ayurveda with Western Medicine?
Here's a peek at my responses:
1. What is ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a holistic system of self-care and wellness. It's the traditional medical system from India. It originated over 5000 years ago, around the same time as yoga. The premise of Ayurveda is that you are a microcosm of Nature herself. The 5 elements that make up everything you see in Nature are also within you. The proportion of these elements gives rise to your unique body-mind constitution. Life's stressors can throw your body-mind constitution out of balance. That's what gives rise to dis-ease in your body, mind, and emotions. The key, then, is to restore your unique state of balance and well-being through your lifestyle. That's where an Ayurvedic pracitioner, such as myself, comes in. I help you determine where the imbalance is and what strategies specific to you will be most helpful!
2. How do you apply the Ayurvedic principles in your daily life?
Day in and day out, I live, breathe, and act according to Ayurvedic principles. Ayurveda is a way of being and living. It's in your mindset, perspective, daily rituals, relationships, career, activities, and food. It's in taking a daily inventory of your physical, mental, and emotional states. And then, making adjustments to your routines as necessary.
3. Are there valid scientific studies that prove the Ayurvedic principles?
Yes! The research is growing by the day. Although Ayurveda has been around for over 5000 years, the evidence-based research is rather new. Since Ayurveda is custom-tailored to the individual, large-scale studies are difficult to do. Despite that, there are many studies looking at specific aspects of Ayurveda, including:
4. How do you combine the principles of Ayurveda with western medicine? Is there a conflict?
The lifestyle practices of Ayurveda meld well with western medicine. Ayurveda offers a preventive approach. It guides your body back to it's optimal state of well-being. Western medicine generally focuses on management of acute illness. Prevention (Ayurveda) and acute management (western medicine) are both necessary parts of healthcare. As a pediatrician, my specialty has always lent itself well towards prevention!
A word of caution: In addition to lifestyle practices, Ayurveda offers intensive treatments and deep cleansing programs. These treatments should only be done in consultation with your regular physician.