Last week I went to a yoga class for the first time in almost a month. While I’ve done a few home practices (mainly deeper, longer stretches), being in a studio was a literal breath of fresh air.
Toward the end of class we held some restorative poses before savasana. The instructor started talking about relaxing our minds and letting go of our worries. Then she said something that hit me hard.
“We all know that eating dozens of candy bars is bad for our health. But our mindset, our thoughts and the way we speak to ourselves have the power to do just as much physical damage. If we aren’t careful, our thoughts can become toxic. Thoughts and words can be our biggest healers or our worst enemies.”
Sometimes the universe can tell you things in an unconventional way.
It’s no secret that the last few months have been a rollercoaster for me. While there have been good things, the bulk of my time (and effort) has been dedicated to finding my way post-grad and addressing health issues. Both are processes that aren’t linear. Both have been taxing…physically, mentally and emotionally. There have been low moments when staying optimistic was/is a challenge and many days when I doubted myself and my worth. Tough but true talk.
Toxicity can manifest in different ways. While I’ve gotten very good at managing and eliminating the physical toxins in my life, dietary and otherwise, it’s only recently that I’ve tapped into the intangible. The mind-body connection is REAL! However, implementing positive self-talk and care takes effort…you can’t just say it, you have to do it.
While my situation might be very specific at the moment, the idea of toxic thoughts isn’t unique to me or this time in my life. No matter what you’re going through, when you get trapped in a cycle of negativity or comparison, other areas of your life suffer. Side note: it’s beyond my realm of knowledge and writing, but I know it’s important to recognize the difference between toxic thoughts and depression. Not the same.
Again, I’m no expert, but I’ve learned that self-care goes WAY beyond the occasional massage and afternoon nap.
While that stuff is nice (and necessary) the truly important aspects of self-care happen daily and often internally. It’s the small things we do, think and say. The candy bar equation was sobering for me. To think I’m doing so much physical work to heal my gut and then have my silly little mind do the damage? Not cool.
Replacing the bad with the good is one thing, but it’s also important to acknowledge why the bad was there in the first place.
Whether you’re in a rough patch or not, we have the power to treat ourselves more lovingly. Like many processes, finding what works is personal (sorry, no concrete lists here). For me, I know that literally repeating affirmations makes a difference, as strange as it sounds.
Not every minute is filled with good or constructive thoughts because, frankly, I’m an emotional human of late. Yet, like one of those cliché statements that I love to hate, I know the tough times won’t last. My mindset and the way I’m learning to approach a situation is what will hopefully stick around.
As someone who has always been wound so tight (seriously, all the way down to my tight hips), letting go and approaching my health from a holistic view is a new world. A world that sounds kind of hokey on paper but is starting to make a lot of sense to me.