Dr. Doni Wilson observes the change from winter to spring with an opportunity for you to make a simple, positive change in your life too!
Do you feel like you need a change – to shake things up a little? Even if you are in a good place in your life, it’s not a bad idea to check in once in a while. Why not use the vernal equinox as such an opportunity?
Creating Change in Your Life
How can you create change? In some cases, it is just a matter of perspective. We are not our thoughts. We can choose to shift our way of looking at things, and when we do, change can begin to happen.
For example, instead of looking at the snow outside and seeing yet another day of winter, we can be empowered by nature and how spring flowers find their way out of the frozen ground.
I find that it is often helpful to turn a negative feeling or belief into an affirmation. At first, the affirmation might not seem to be true, but it opens the possibility for it to be true.
Let me give you a simple example. Suppose you receive some criticism, and your belief is that in general, “criticism is a negative reflection on you.” What if instead, you turned it around into an affirmation that “criticism is helpful feedback.” You might not always find it to be the case, but at the very least, it opens you up to looking at it in a positive light. Now, the opportunity exists for you to change your mind.
These things can seem very simple – so simple in fact, that we don’t take them seriously enough as a tool for change. Our minds are powerful. When we take the time notice our thoughts and feelings, such as by journaling or practicing mindfulness, we can then allow a shift in perspective.
Studies show that putting your thoughts to paper – whatever they might be – helps decrease stress and cortisol, while increasing mood. People who are experiencing anxiety, depression and/or PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) noticed a significant improvement in their symptoms by writing about their feelings.
Possibility Leads to Happiness
Is it a coincidence that the day before the first day of Spring is also the International Day of Happiness? I love this in concept, because happiness is associated with a change of seasons. I also find it apropos because spring is about the rebirth of nature, and nature in general is known to improve mood and motivation.
To me, it’s more than just symbolic – it’s as natural as the natural world itself.
Bring the Sunshine!
What can you do – today? How about one small change that you can make each day over the next few weeks?
Get your time out in the daylight!
Even just 15 minutes a day will do so much good! Here are some of the many benefits of getting exposure to sunlight:
- Stimulates the production of vitamin D
- Helps sync your circadian rhythm
- Increases vitality
- Calms your nerves
- Improves mood
- Speeds recovery from injuries and illness
- Helps resilience to illness
The days are getting longer again, so this gets a lot easier. Make some time for yourself, even if it’s in small doses. And remember, it’s best to get indirect sunlight. The sun’s rays can be harmful with continued exposure – not just in the summertime!
Enjoy Plants and Trees!
While you’re outside getting a dose of sunshine, try to spend some time around trees or other plants.
There’s research that shows that being near trees and plants improves mood, lowers blood pressure and optimizes body weight. Other research found that caring for plants helps to decrease cortisol and reduce feelings of stress.
The way I see it is being in nature is a form of mindfulness. Nature helps us to be in the moment and to re-center our focus. At the same time, nature helps to reset our stress response.
Maybe this is why the first day of spring is also International Forest Day!
What if it’s too cold out, or it’s not easy for you to spend time outdoors? You can get the same benefits by having plants in your home. Keeping a plant or two, especially in your bedroom, has been shown to be really good for your health. That’s because plants produce oxygen, which we need, and they process toxins in the air. While you are sleeping, a plant helps keep the air nice and clean for you.
So if you don’t have a plant, you can pick one up at a local nursery. And they make a wonderful gift for someone you love.
Next Steps – Throughout the Spring
Creating change can be really simple, if you allow it to be. Let me help you with that, step-by-step. I have a ton of resources on changes that you can make. Remember, you don’t have to make a lot of changes at once. Instead, can you commit to making one small change per week? That makes it more manageable – and achievable.
Here are some simple starting points for you. Try one of these, this week:
- Let Nature Empower You
Nature is one of the best stress remedies available. Experiencing nature, even in small ways, can have a tangible positive impact on your health and well-being. In addition to getting out in the daylight, bring a little more nature into your life.
- Practice Self-Acceptance
Does how we feel about ourselves affect our physical health? There’s new research on how self-acceptance can influence oxidative stress levels in our bodies. Here are some practical tips for you to get started in your journey towards self-acceptance.
- Meditate and Practice Mindfulness
People who meditate regularly see better sleep, decreased anxiety, and improved mood and focus. It’s not difficult, and anyone can do it! Here’s a brief overview of mindfulness and meditation to get you started in building your resilience to stress.
- Use Your Intuition
Your intuition is a really important factor in managing your health. While this may seem to go against conventional wisdom, there is increasing medical and psychological research showing how essential it is to health. Here’s a deeper look at intuition as a tool to help you achieve your health goals.
Then, try another one next week. And then again the next week. Soon, you will have made some positive changes in your life – and hopefully, it will reflect in your health and overall happiness.
These articles are part of a series I call, “Dr. Doni’s Series on Natural Stress Remedies.”
In addition to the four articles above, there are others about gratefulness, the importance of pets, and choosing toxin-free beauty and skincare products.
And there is also an article about how looking at our health from the perspective of stress, and the ways we can support our bodies while under stress, is what I see as the solution for optimizing your health and preventing health issues.
If you want to go further in making more changes this Spring season, I invite you to check those articles out here: http://bit.ly/natural-stress-remedies. And of course, please share them with anyone whom you think might benefit!
So, can we commit to a small change, right now? Let’s do it! For me, I’m going to focus on adding more moments of mindfulness to my life. What about you? Let’s make a commitment together!
I’d love to hear what YOU decide to change – and the results you achieve. Please leave a comment on my Facebook page, and join the conversation! Perhaps we can all hold one another accountable in making positive changes this Spring!
22nd March 2017