Health Archives

Nurture Your Soul With Inspirational Books

No matter what your religious affiliation, inside of your body there is a soul that craves nourishment. Time spent reading material that inspires and touches you will enhance your stress management efforts. There are several authors I have found that stir my spirit each time I read their books or listen to audio CDs of their great ideas. I keep a special handwritten journal of quotes from many of these books and add to the material when I find something special. I use the computer for most of my writing and correspondence but find that writing by hand in this journal gives me time to slow down and give each quote proper time and attention. In times when I am spirit-hungry, I can pick up this journal and use these words to stimulate my soul.

Even reading time in small bits and pieces can invigorate me. One of my favorite authors, Victoria Moran, writes her books in short chapters that can be enjoyed anywhere. The first book I read by her is still my favorite: Lit from Within. It sits in a very prominent place where I usually go to sit some times per day (depending on how much water I have consumed) and each time I pick up this little book of wisdom I am blessed by reading just a few pages. I have two copies – one in hardback that I shared with my Mom and the other in the powder room that was signed by the author. Another favorite from her is Shelter for the Spirit. I have this on CD and listen to it when I am home alone puttering around in the kitchen or doing a downstairs straightening. It keeps my spirits up while I perform tasks around the house as it is all about making the home a haven.

I spend a lot of time in my car as I travel between two hospitals to see patients. I keep audio lectures by Dr. Wayne Dyer in the car to listen to during that commute time. I enjoy reading his books but prefer to listen to his longer lectures on CD. I have Secrets of an Inspirational (In-Spirit) Life in my car and have listened to it some times. Although I probably have most of it memorized by now, I still enjoy listening to it! It helps me to stay focused on what is important in life and keeps me positive even in trying times. This program is also especially useful for examining difficult life events in a different light and reframing your feelings and responses to those events.

Another favorite book is Gracious Living in a New World by Alexandra Stoddard. This was the first of many of her books that I have read and still the favorite that I go back to time after time. This particular book looks at how to make life special in each and every moment. Some reviewers have labeled this author pretentious, but I enjoy her work.

Just a few suggestions to get you started. Of course, if none of these authors seem to inspire you, keep looking. We are all individuals and enjoy different writers and styles. Just remember to spend some time nurturing your soul.

Time for Self Nurturing

Now that we have discussed some time management and organization strategies, it’s time to set time aside just for you. How much time do you give yourself each day for self nurturing? If you are like me in my corporate days, you are probably getting a few minutes each week. If you spend most of your waking time working and taking care of others, it’s a must to take time each day taking care of yourself.

Set aside at least twenty to thirty minutes for yourself sometime during the day to spend on something FUN. Just because you are an adult doesn’t mean you have forgotten recess, does it? Unplug and get away from all of those RESPONSIBILITIES and do something you enjoy. For me this means spending twenty minutes before bed listening to my favorite relaxing CD and hitting the yoga mat for a nice light stretching routine. This is strictly ME time and I feel comfortable in shutting the door and asking not to be disturbed. I started this routine about a year ago with a DVD called Meditation for Beginners by Gaiam. It has an easy 15 minute yoga routine followed by a 20 minute relaxation exercise and a 20 minute guided meditation. If you have never done yoga or meditation and want to give it a try, I highly recommend this DVD. I’ve been doing it for so long that I have it memorized and can do it to my favorite CD.

Now if yoga and meditation are just not your thing, find something that works for you. It does not matter what you do as long as it is something that you enjoy. If getting this started is difficult for you, begin by making a list of activities that you enjoy. Try to come up with at least ten things you enjoy that can be done in 20-30 minutes and pick one each day. Here is a sample list of things I enjoy:

Walking outdoors on a nature trail, in a botanical garden, or even a stroll around the neighborhood park.

Reading a good old trashy romance paperback or suspense novel outdoors on the back porch, in a great big comfortable chair, or any other favorite cozy place.

Reading spirit nurturing books or listening to audio lectures by my favorite authors Wayne Dyer, Victoria Moran, or Alexandra Stoddard.

Watching a television show that stimulates the mind (cooking shows, gardening and home shows, PBS specials, Science, Discovery, and the History Channel programs are some of my favorites)

Taking a yoga, meditation, or FUN exercise class or putting on my favorite CD and dancing around the house (I’m partial to the Lilo & Stitch soundtrack).

Taking a nice long bubble bath with candles and relaxing music and spending time afterward wrapped in a huge fluffy bath sheet relaxing on the bed.

Getting a massage. A thirty minute massage is great; an hour is even better. If a professional massage is not in the budget, trade massages with a loved one or even give yourself a nice foot massage with your favorite scented lotion.

Buying myself a nice small bouquet of flowers and arranging them in a vase, then placing the vase in my office, in the kitchen, by the bed or anywhere I will see them often and enjoy.

Taking a magazine to the local Starbucks or stopping by a bookstore with a cafe and browsing a few titles. Even if I don’t have time much time to spare, I can always pick up something to read at a later date.

Taking a friend to tea. I have a nice little tearoom in my hometown that I just love to spend time in because it is like stepping back in time to a more gracious era.

Going fishing!!! Some of my fondest memories are of my grandfather and me in a boat out on the lake. An hour fishing from the shore can bring me back to that peaceful frame of mind. You know what they say a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work any day.

I hope these activities piqued your interest or helped you remind you of things you like to do. Take some fun recess time for yourself TODAY!!!

A Positive Attitude of Gratitude

If you haven’t read the articles All in Your Head and Nurture Your Soul you may want to read these prior to the current post  as I will be expanding on these ideas.  I recently watched wonderful movie called The Secret and it brought together many of the ideas I have been studying in my inspirational books.  I will be spending time expanding on many of these ideas, but the first one I want to talk about is the attitude of gratitude.

Remember, how we react to events in our life and the beliefs we have about those events affect our stress level.  But our reactions, self talk and attitude affect more than our stress level, these things affect our overall life focus and entire emotional make up!  If you have read any material on abundance and prosperity or the law of attraction, you begin to realize that our thoughts can affect what we attract into our lives.  This goes a step further from the power of positive thinking affecting our emotional state to say that this can also affect the very fabric/structure of our lives.  It means trusting God to oversee your life and guide you to your destiny.

In my life I have been through many trials and in younger times I would wonder Where is God while I am suffering? Why did He let so many hurtful things happen to me?  In my older and hopefully wiser mind I have come to understand that everything I have experienced up to this point in my life has had a purpose or lesson for me.  All of the bad things I experienced shaped me to be the person I am today and without these I would not have gained the knowledge and life experience it takes to be the counselor I am.  I don’t just listen to people and give support; I can understand and empathize with my patients.  I have been where they are and understand many of the emotional stages one must go through to heal.  If not for those lessons in my early life, I would not be who I am today.  For those lessons, I can now thank God because I do finally understand their significance and necessity.

It’s a pretty big step to thank God for the lessons, but it is at that point that I have finally found peace.