Butte Glenn Medical Society

Good Vibes

The weekly Good Vibes e-newsletter from Dr. Dannielle Harwood, Chief Wellness Officer, is brought to you in a blog format! Enjoy these positive and uplifting messages in blog entries to get you into good spirits. If you would like to sign up for the e-newsletter, please contact Lisa Le, Project Coordinator, at lle@bgmsonline.org.

Monday, May 17, 2022
Dear Ones!
Hold on and give me a minute of your time because I promise this is not about finding the right elixir to drink, new diet fad or perfect body wrap, This is the type of detox we could all use and it has nothing to do with your body but everything to do with your LIFE!

Ways to detox your life
1. Clean out your closet! Donate clothing you never or rarely wear.
2. Unsubscribe to all the services you pay for every month but no longer use.
3. Clean up that inbox! Unsubscribe to to as many emails as possible!
4. Clean out your fridge and your cupboards. Get rid of all expired products.
5. Clean up your computer/file cabinet. Get rid of old documents and files no longer needed.
6. Get rid of social media or at the very least unfollow anyone who has not created value for you in the past 30 days.
7. Organize your finances
8. Spend some time identifying the things in your life that are actually adding to it and what is detracting from either your happiness or your goals and make a plan to eliminate these from being a reoccurring part of your schedule.
Clutter in all forms is distracting! It can get in the way of us having the time or the energy to create what we really want.
What are the possibilities that a LIFE DETOX would create the space for?
Monday, May 9, 2022

Dear Ones!
Today I am sharing some words of clarity and wisdom for your contemplation from the writer Yung Pueblo.
"How we act is greatly impacted by the
subconscious patterns that control our
perception of reality
How we feel is deeply affected by our past emotional history -heavy emotions that do their best to recreate themselves in the present
What we see can only become objective and clear when we observe, accept, and let go of what was silently waiting deep within us
When we rise above the past and use our effort to respond to life intentionally, by having the perseverance to build wiser habits, we open the door wider to living in a new way"
May we all build wiser habits this week!
Peace & Blessings!
Monday, May 2, 2022

Dear Ones!
I had a recent phone call with a group of colleagues who regularly meet to support, challenge and grow with each other and the question was asked "What right now in your life is depleting you and what right now in your life is energizing you?" What a great question! We paused and reflected and then shared. Some of the responses regarding depletion were predictable; jobs, caretaking, paperwork, COVID, relationships. Then we pivoted to talk about how to build our energy reserves back up so that we could continue to work through these more draining activities or even find ways to take on new challenges. We spent awhile discussing extra sleep, baths, exercise, getting out into nature, spending time with friends, etc. For each person there were specific nuances that made if renewing for them as an individual. It really helped to bring into focus where my energy was going and how to refuel. I came away renewed and with a plan!

What is depleting for YOU right now? Identify it. Name it. Write it down.
Where does your energy come from? How can you re-energize? How can you make this a priority in your life? If your energy tank is full you can get through the more difficult tasks faster and easier! It can be hard to start but it will pay off! Focus on finding the time for what you need to fill yourself up. This is the secret to sustaining yourself through the challenging tasks and difficult times. It might seem selfish but it actually completely necessary and in the long term the only way to persevere.
Here, from the lovely and ever optimistic, Kate Bowler, is a blessing! May this blessing encourage you to reach for what you need!
A Blessing To Take What you Need
The feeder is empty again
and no one is claiming that the birds are greedy
for taking what they pleased.
Look at how the fat, pink flowers
are weighing the end of each branch,
sucking nutrients into each velvet petal.
How selfish.
Nature hungers, takes and needs.
God, why can’t I?
Blessed are we, learning to take what we need.
Sleeping past our alarms.
Reaching for another helping.
Staying a little longer when the evening is unwinding.
Blessed are we, ignoring the rising anxiety
that our needs are somehow silly
because we’ve survived this long
without the pleasures of this wanting.
God, let these needs be the good sign
of the greening of my life.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Greetings Dear Ones!
As promised we are going to explore meditation a little more... except that we're not! Although meditation is a fantastic way to let go of stress, tap into your inner self and be more present, meditation as a sit on the floor and close your eyes activity is not for everyone! Maybe it sounds so unappealing that you never tried or maybe you have tried and it has not felt very successful or doable for you. Are there other ways to reap many of the mental, emotional and physical benefits of meditation without the actual seated OM? The good news is YES! Honestly, almost any activity that requires a total focus or oneness of your mind can be a type of meditation. It all about filtering out the chatter and being still (on the inside) but also completely aware on a mental level. Sometimes it can be referred to as being "in the zone". However if you are only ever in the zone during stressful activities, the high adrenaline and cortisol levels will cause more damage to your body over time than the mental rewards.
Here are some alternative activities to slow down and clear the mind:
1. Walking. In walking meditation you pay attention to the physicality of your body and/or to the sensations around you. Pick a place to walk that is fairly flat and free of obstacles. There is not particular distant or goal in mind. The point is merely the activity itself. Start by anchoring your feet to the ground and noticing how you feel just standing present in the moment. Begin walking slowly and swinging the arms slightly in a relaxed fashion. What do you notice in your body? What do you notice in your surroundings? Here is a short video from Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on Walking Meditation.
Thich Nhat Hanh - Walking Meditation
There is also the practice of walking a labyrinth. This is often consider a spiritual practice and can be found as part of many different faiths. Here is a link to a list of labyrinths all over the world.
World-Wide Labyrinth Locator - Welcome
There are other forms of physical movement that can also be used in a meditative or mindful manner including yoga, rowing, paddle boarding or even juggling! And don't forget about the famous "wax on, wax off" of Karate Kid fame. Find one that works for you!
2. Coloring/Drawing/Painting or any creative outlet done without self critique or judgement. It must be done for the sake of doing and not in order to create a specific item or with any particular goal in mind. The point is to focus on the colors, the patterns, the movements. Let your mind rest! The practice of coloring mandalas is often used for this.
3. Rhythmic music or movements. This is a favorite of mine! Sacred dances such as hula, ecstatic dance or other types. Again the point being to focus on the music, rhythm and the feeling of your own body moving.
Ecstatic DANCE! | 10 Minute Daily Routines
If dancing is just not your style try drumming!
4. Journaling or Morning Pages. Morning Pages is a method made popular by Julia Cameron in her book "The Artist's Way". Morning Pages is the practice of simply writing 3 pages every morning as soon as you get up. The writing is to be free flow of whatever comes to your mind without trying to filter or even have it be about a particular thing. It can be about anything and everything, the birds singing, your neck pain, crazy dreams or all of it. It does not need to makes any particular sense. It is the practice of writing that is the meditation. I write for 20-30 minutes instead of a set number of pages to avoid getting focused on if I have enough time or how large or small the pages of the particular notebook I am using at the time might be. I just set my timer and write! When it rings I am done!
5. Float Tank If you ever have the chance to try one of these out absolutely go for it! These are basically a dark chamber filled with warm salt water in which you float effortlessly for 30-60 minutes. This is a distinct sensory deprivation experience that can be profound for many.
6. Breathwork. Another favorite of mine! Probably because it give me something specific to do which always makes quieting my mind easier. There are actually many different methods of breathwork, each with different emphasis and a wide range of benefits. I really like the ease of Transformational breath. Here is an introduction video.
Nice, easy (maybe your first!) 100-breath Transformational Breath session with Nicole Rager
And there we have it! I hope that there is something on this list that can help you find a meditative space and sense of mindfulness in your day!

Monday, April 18, 2022
Meditation, meditation, meditation! I know you’ve heard this word at least a dozen times in the past five years. Maybe you have dismissed it as woo hoo. Maybe it sounds like a good idea for those other people who have problems. Or maybe you’re interested but just can’t see where you could find the time when you’re already struggling to find time for exercise, and some days, even a shower! Perhaps you’re one of those people who really, truly wants to meditate and has tried repeatedly but just finds that the technique does not really work for them. The good news is that today I have a little tidbit for you no matter which of these categories you fall into.
  1. It turns out that meditation and the mindfulness state that it is designed to create is definitely not woo hoo! At this point, there are plenty of scientific studies that detail the changes meditation causes in our brains. Aside from measurable changes in gray matter, it is also possible to measure the decrease in Beta waves. Beta waves are especially active when we are processing lots of information. During meditation, the processing activities of the reticular formation are decreased which helps to dial back our alert/arousal system. Scientists have also measured changes in brain wave activity in the prefrontal cortex, parietal lobe and thalamus. And similar to exercise the changes last for a period of time after the activity is completed.
  2. Even if you are a person who somehow does not struggle from overwhelm, stress, depression or anxiety a meditation practice can be very helpful. Meditation can give us better focus, increase activity levels and improve empathy. It can improve memory and productivity as well. Much like exercise, it seems to diminish age-related effects on our brain and slow down cognitive decline.
  3. Meditation can actually take a lot less time than you think especially as you get better at it. I would encourage you to start small if you are feeling intimidated or pressed for time. The hardest part of beginning a new practice is simply making it a habit. By starting with something very small even as few as 2 to 5 minutes a day we start to create a habit. Just reserving that time whether or not you felt that the meditation was “successful” or not, starts to build the daily habit. And you do not need to be sitting cross-legged on the floor staring at a lava lamp. I find that my car is a great place to meditate for 5 min prior to or at the end of my workday. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Set a timer, close your eyes, and just focus on the sensation of your breath. All kinds of thoughts may come into your mind. It’s OK to notice them. Then simply return your focus to the sensation of your breath. I find when my monkey brain is on overdrive that I do much better with a guided meditation. Personally, I love the short guided meditation options on the app Buddhify. I am also a huge fan of the app Headspace as well as the app Unplug.
  4. So you have tried meditation numerous times in various settings and none of it seems to work for you? How about some alternatives to achieving mindfulness and zen? There is actually any number of other activities that can get you there….. let's explore those next week!
In the meantime........
One-Moment Meditation: "How to Meditate in a Moment"
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