Thursday, September 16, 2010

Getting it back

In the movie Surfwise, Dr. Pascowitz defines health as:
“Not meaning the absence of illness but a superior state of well being. Above and beyond simply being but being everything a human being can be so that the brain can be everything that it can be.”
I think we all kind of know what Pascowitz is talking about. We all have times when we feel far from this "superior state of well being." We know when we’ve lost some of our zest and vitality for life.

Lately, my excitement for residency has been taken over by stress, fears, and uncertainty over the future.  I’ve been seeking ways to regain that “superior state of well being.” Here is my working list of things to do to help get it back: 
  • Call an old friend. Old friends remind of us of who we are, what we want, why we’re doing what we’re doing, and what we might be missing. Call someone you haven't talked to in a while, call someone who "gets" you. 
  • Meet a new friend. Meet up with someone you admire and want to learn from. Get inspired.
  • Eat carefully. Food affects our mood and vice versa. When we're feeling down, the foods we often crave can end up making us feel worse. When feeling fragile, I try to stick to the basics: fruits, veggies, and grains.
  • Learn something new. A new food, a new skill, a new fact.
  • Create something. Try out a new recipe, make a collage, write a journal entry.
  • Go for a run. Sweat it out. Get some endorphins circulating. 
  • Do yoga. Get up early, make some coffee, and go practice. Hold upward facing dog for longer than usual and do lots of backbends. Remember how Iyengar said, “If you keep your armpits open, you won’t get depressed.” 
  • Recognize your destructive thought patterns. Negative automatic thoughts spiral into more negative thoughts and doubts. Try not to get stuck in these thought patterns! First step is recognizing them.
  • Do not wallow. Don’t keep sitting there thinking – get up and go do something! 
  • Indulge in ‘me’ time. For me this means lighting a candle, taking a bath, and reading some Rumi.
  • De-clutter your space. Clean up your clutter. I finally bought hangers and hung up all the clothes that were lying around my room... easy and instant gratification.
  • Smile and laugh. Especially when you don’t feel like it. Fake it till you make it
  • Keep a small journal with you wherever you go. The little pocket moleskine ones are perfect. Write down ideas, questions, quotes you like, lists of things you want to do.
  • Go outside. Disconnect from your phone and computer.

What else do you do? Please share!


  1. That's a wonderful list of ideas! If you have a personal mission statement, then another idea would be to review your PMS to see what action steps you can take to implement it more forcefully.

  2. We ashtangis start our days with a very devoted practice, selfish, but a necessary part of renewal for our body, heart and soul, no? There seems to be a livening balance in bringing an effortful selflessness somehow into the rest of our day – karma/bhakti/jana yogas – sounds like a residency will most suredly lead to this,,, and life is uncertain, maybe when we are un-teathered from a permanent nest and community we feel that truth a bit more clearly …thanks for voicing…

  3. Love how NAT is embedded in here! Got stuck in a bad bout of them yesterday. Hoping for a better one today!