It is summertime, and people are talking about beaches, bikinis, and diets a lot. Diets are weird things. They often seem to focus on deprivation, and I once heard someone point out that the first part of the word diet spells out die.
I would like to suggest that good health is much more about the good things we add to our life, rather than the things we take away from it. Good health is about living more, not less. Therefore, I like to think about LiveIts rather than DieIts. (I am purposefully misspelling diet in this sentence for the sake of contrast.)
If we were to adopt LiveIts rather than diets, I think we would change our mindset about health and our body in several important ways:
We would begin to realize that our body is our friend, and it is always communicating to us about how we can help it be happy and healthy.
We would realize that like all living things, our body needs love, encouragement, and positive attention to thrive.
We would realize that since our body is intimately intertwined with our mind and spirit, when we nourish our mind and spirit, we also nourish our body. And when we nourish our body, we nourish our mind and spirit.
We would realize that being healthy is not about being a certain size. It is about being good friends with ourselves.
We would realize that when our bodies become unhealthy, the solution is not always to take away things. Often the solution is to add good and beautiful things.
If we adopted a LiveIt, rather than a diet, here are some beautiful things we might add to our lives:
One: Loving and nourishing thoughts: Loving thoughts increase our confidence and joy. When we add confidence and joy to our lives, it often helps us to get rid of other habits we have that are not so healthy. You can read about that here and here.
Two: Playful and gentle movement: Our body loves to move, but movement does not have to be a punishment or a chore. You can read about that here.
Three: Deep, consistent breathing: Breathing deeply and well helps with many emotional, spiritual, and physical issues. (You can read about this here.)
Four: Using loving visualization: Loving and positive visualization is not hocus-pocus. It is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves to help us be more healthy. You can read about that here.
Five: Eating Foods We Enjoy Mindfully: When we give ourselves permission to eat food we enjoy and be present with ourselves in the process, powerful things can happen. (You can read about this here.)
Six: Going outside: Even if you just go and sit on your back porch and look at the trees, it can have tremendous benefits. (You can read more about this here.)
Seven: Adding beautiful things to our lives: In addition to eating foods we love mindfully, adding beautiful things like simplicity, quiet, nature, art, and meaningful relationships to our lives can be incredibly nourishing. You can read about that here.
Eight: Giving ourselves time to be creative: We are all natural creators and makers, but often as we get older, we give ourselves less and less time to do this important work. You can nourish yourself by being creative in whatever way seems right to you. You can read about ways to allow creativity into your life here. This is also a good article about why creativity is so nourishing.
Ten: Showing ourselves compassion: Life can be really hard and confusing sometimes, and one of the most beautiful things we can give ourselves is the gift of compassion. You can read more about this here.
Please note that a LiveIt is not about creating new chores and to-do lists for yourself. It is about listening to your mind, body, and emotions and doing things that nourish you.
In addition, no one can really tell you what your LiveIt must look like. YOU are the boss of you. You get to design your own LiveIt that is a perfect fit for you. Maybe your LiveIt will have some or all of the activities above. Maybe you will add different activities or practices. Maybe you will just starting thinking about it. The point is to nourish your life with rich, meaningful, and beautiful things.
As we think about heading to the beaches this summer, we may be tempted to go on diets. You are the boss of you, so you get to decide what is best right now. But maybe it will help us if we start thinking less about DieIts and more about LiveIts. LiveIts help us be healthy, happy, and balanced by encouraging us to fill our lives with things that nourish our body, mind, and spirit.
Exploration: What is one thing you could do this week that would add beauty and nourishment to your life without adding any stress or anxiety? Consider doing this thing. It can be very small and simple or more grand and complex. It is all up to you. Even just thinking about it is enough to start your LiveIt.
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