ABCs of Positivity: H Is for Health
Health – Yep this is a BIG topic. I’ll touch on the ways I focus on my health and why our mindset has so much to do with how well our bodies feel.
When my coaches and mastermind team asked me why I was starting Fairy Positive – what its mission and message were – I realized that it has a great deal to do with health. We humans are at our best – healthiest, happiest, most productive – when we are calm and at peace. Yet our culture (I can only speak for Americans) seems to be in direct opposition to our peace, doing everything it can to keep us stressed out, fearful, angry, and worried. Because stress and anger and worry hinder every aspect of our health, we must find ways to relieve that stress, refocus our anger, and release worry. Those are the missions of Fairy Positive.
Have you ever wondered why so many people you know seem to be so sick – the current pandemic aside? I noticed a number of years ago that cancer is a storyline in virtually every TV show and many films. Please know, my intention is not to diminish or belittle your experience if you have been affected by this disease; my father-in-law and my sister passed away from it within 15 months of each other. But conventional wisdom seems to be that it’s increasing, it’s coming for us, and there’s nothing we can do about it. I staunchly disagree. There is absolutely no reason we must accept ill health as a done deal.
We all have sovereignty over our bodies – we have control over what we eat, what we drink, how much we sleep, how much exercise we get, and most importantly, what we focus our attention on. This means we have so much more power and self-determination when it comes to our health than we may realize – and certainly more than the media and Western medicine would lead us to believe.
A couple years ago, a close friend of mine received an early diagnosis of breast cancer. She was weighing all her options, one of which included surgery. I went with her to meet with the surgeon – and that meeting confirmed what I had only assumed prior to that. Surgeons get paid to cut – it’s their bread and butter. But there have to be instances when radical surgery is not the best option for the patient. Yet this surgeon’s administrator did everything she could to terrify my friend into agreeing to a double mastectomy. For a small cluster of cells caught pretty much as early as diagnosis was possible. This woman dismissed any idea of alternative modalities as hocus-pocus that “have never worked once for any of our patients.”
My friend sought the opinion of another surgeon, who suggested that a lumpectomy might be all that was necessary – along with a new drug that was showing promise in reducing tumors of all sizes. Between those steps, changing her eating, and working on her mindset (including much needed forgiveness work), she recovered fully and has been free of any signs of cancer for more than two years. She listened to her body, listened to her own inner wisdom, listened to Source, and made a decision that helped her heal easily and without the invasive and life-altering option initially put in front of her.
We all have the ability to do the same – to choose to be healthy.
Another friend of mine, a medical doctor who once owned and operated a couple of urgent care centers, gave a presentation where she passed out a bunch of Band-Aids to each person in the audience, along with some Sharpies. She asked us to write on each Band-Aid the illnesses and health issues that plagued us. Then we were to stick the Band-Aids to our bodies (over our clothes). Once were covered with these adhesive words, she reminded us that the illnesses are just labels and we are not our illnesses. The reason she used Band-Aids was so that we could peel them off. There is no reason each of us – in spite of the diagnosis or perceived health challenge – cannot be perfect health. Not perfectly healthy – but perfect health itself.
She is one of the reasons that during my daily meditation, I go through every system of my body that I am aware of and repeat the affirmation: I am perfect health. My brain, memory, mind, and entire nervous system are perfect health; my heart, blood, capillaries, veins, arteries and entire circulatory system are perfect health; my lungs, diaphragm, and entire respiratory system are perfect health, etc. And for the systems I don’t know, I include them at the end in the summary: all 70 trillion of my cells work in concert for my good and perfect health. If this is something you think might work to help you focus your mind on health, please feel free to use or adapt it.
There are many other things you can do to improve and preserve your health, some of which run counter to much of American culture. While I do not have a perfect track record with these things, they are my goal and I strive daily to improve.
(1) Turn off the news. Stop listening to the fear-mongering and perpetuation of all the reasons life is dangerous, scary, stressful, worrisome (fill in your own low-vibration word of choice).
(2) Limit your screen time and/or carefully curate your social media feeds. For some of us, social media is a part of our business plan, so turning it off altogether isn’t realistic. However, all of your social platforms are designed to give you exactly what you ask of them – so if your feed is full of negative news, worrisome stories, and alarming announcements, that is what you’ve been clicking on, commenting on, and sharing. It’s actually quite easy to start seeing more positive posts: respond to those and ignore, hide, or block the ones that create stress in your life.
(3) Laugh more. Norman Cousins, a journalist and professor, famously recovered from a debilitating and life-threatening illness of the connective tissue by incorporating as much laughter as possible into his daily routine. Science is now validating laughter as a way to stay healthy.
(4) Eliminate white foods (sugar, flour, pasta, bread, potatoes) as much as possible. Sugar has been my greatest challenge. I do well for a while minimizing it – and then all of a sudden, I look up and I’m having a cookie every night after dinner. Additionally, get more vegetables – particularly the green, leafy variety – into your diet.
(5) Drink plenty of water. Failing to drink enough water can cause better-known physical effects, like headaches, muscle cramps, dry skin, and dizziness, but it can also severely affect your cognitive function. For women, a loss of just 1.4 percent of their normal body fluids, say after a challenging workout, can impair both their mood and concentration. It takes a 1.6 percent decrease in fluids to cause similar effects in men.
(6) Eliminate or limit your caffeine intake. We’re inundated with caffeinated drinks and conditioned to think either we need them or they help energize us. Neither is true. My husband was a multi-pot per day coffee drinker when he decided to quit, cold turkey. He had a pretty shaky first week, but has been largely caffeine-free since then. He’ll have a cup of joe on the occasional times we go out for breakfast, but for someone who used to go through a 24-ounce bag of coffee beans in days, he’s cut down to almost none. From less anxiety to improved sleep to better absorption of nutrients from your food, cutting down caffeine will enhance your overall health.
(7) Get enough sleep. The proper amount is different for everyone, but science suggests we need between 7 and 9 hours of slumber to get enough quality REM sleep to be restorative. This is another one I am working to improve.
(8) Exercise regularly. You’ve heard it like a record on repeat, but most Americans come nowhere near the recommended amount of exercise to remain healthy, at least 1/2-hour, 5 days a week. Fewer than a quarter of us get up and move on any sort of regular basis for an extended enough time to raise our heart rates. Fewer still follow a weight training regimen. Here’s the thing: the human body was designed to move. That’s why we have long limbs – we were not designed to sit at desks or on couches for long periods every day. My husband and I have the luxury of working with a personal trainer virtually twice a week, which definitely helps keep us accountable for exercising. But we also walk or hike on our off days, bicycle, and play the occasional game of tennis. I also use tiny smiley face stickers as a reward system – every day I work out for at least 20 minutes, I get a sticker. Yep – just like in kindergarten, I light up when I count those babies at the end of the month. My suggestion is that you find something you love to do so that exercise doesn’t feel like a chore. Just get off the couch more – you’ll feel better and your heart will thank you.
(9) Focus on the positive. Read delightful stories. Listen to music you love – and dance with abandon. Find a hobby. Journal to release the anxiety. Go to the craft store, thrift store, or dollar store and get some art supplies and make something – regularly. Develop some affirmations to help you refocus your attention when you find yourself feeling anxious, fearful, or stressed out.
If you need more ideas about any of these steps, YouTube offers a wealth of information. Just search for the subject you want and you’ll see a plethora of ideas, from funny things to watch to fantastic exercise videos to every craft tutorial under the sun.
Your health is in your hands – make the most of it!