So often we think of spirituality as purely related to the soul. But the mind and body are also part of the trifecta that makes us whole. Spiritual teachers often give us wonderful tips on how to get through the trials and tribulations of life, but because the body can have a huge impact on the mind, we need some guidance there as well.
As a student of life, I notice over and over again how big an impact my physical state has on my mind and spirit. When my gut is off, so is my mood. When my neck is out of alignment, so is my mind. If I've burdened my liver with certain foods, I feel irritated and anger-prone. If I haven't gotten enough sleep, it's harder for me to listen and connect. For all of these reasons and more, treating my body well has become part of my spiritual practice, and I think it could help yours, too.
Here are 15 habits that, when practiced regularly, massively contribute to my sense of clarity, presence, and well-being. Remember, the more relaxed and at ease your body is, the more relaxed and at ease your mind will be, too.
1. Eat chocolate.
Raw cacao is a powerful antioxidant that was referred to as "heart blood" by the Aztecs. Spiritually, it helps to open the heart, and physically, it is very supportive of the cardiovascular system.
2. Drink warm lemon water in the morning.
Let the first thing you consume be a tall glass of warm lemon water. It is so alkalizing, and after sleeping, it helps flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body.
3. Let go of the coffee and sugar.
Both coffee and sugar can contribute to moodiness, anxiousness, stress, difficulty focusing, and instability. Without both, you are bound to feel more stable and calm.
4. Breathe deeply.
Most of us are shallow breathers. And when we're thinking (which is often) and when we're tense, we often restrict our breath even more. However, when we breathe deeply, we anchor our sense of presence in our bodies; we bring our attention to the present moment; and we support ourselves in opening to and facing whatever is happening here and now. Physically, deep breathing also helps to relax our muscles, improve our sleep, stabilize blood pressure, and more. Breathe deep by taking long, slow inhalations into your belly, and then exhale at the same pace.
5. Move your body.
However you like to move your body, move it. Dance, do yoga, hike, walk, make love—get active. When we move our bodies, our soul moves with them. Indeed, when we liberate stuck energy and allow the old energy cycle to end, we create more room within ourselves to receive the new.
6. Cook with love.
When you eat, you absorb not just your nutrients but also the energy with which your food was prepared. So if you're thinking about something that pissed you off while you cook, that energy will wind up in the food. However, if you choose to appreciate your time in the kitchen as an opportunity for ritual and prayer, and you then cook with love and gratitude, you'll be welcoming all of that healing energy back into your body through the food you make.
7. Get a good night's sleep.
Seven to nine hours is the general recommendation. Good sleep leads to a better mood, clearer mind, stronger immunity, improved listening, and much more.
8. Walk barefoot on the earth.
Relax in nature to reconnect with the natural rhythms of the earth. This connection is so healing. It helps us to calm down and simplify. When we make barefoot contact with the ground, we boost our microbiome, support our immune system, and help ourselves to feel better. Not to mention that nature is one of the greatest teachers, too.
9. Love yourself.
Yes, self-love is a total health hack. Salves, good creams, loving touch—give yourself the luxury you deserve. One of my favorite daily rituals is massaging herb-infused salve onto my breasts when I get out of the shower. So nourishing, revitalizing, cleansing, and healing on all levels.
10. Get your digestive system moving.
Our emotional and energetic body often mirrors what is happening in our digestive system. If, for example, our bowels are blocked, it's likely that there's also something we're not letting go of emotionally or energetically. Indeed, proper elimination is a vital part of maintaining the full spectrum of wellness. Doing a six-week cleanse a few of years ago (replete with colonics, a strict diet, ThetaHealing sessions, and supportive supplements) completely transformed my digestive health, my emotional body, and my life in truly amazing ways.
11. Let it out.
Cry if you need to, get in the car and scream, pound your fists on the Earth—whatever you need to do to let the energy out of your system, just let it happen. Your being will show you what you need; the only thing you need to do is not resist. Allow it to happen, however it must. (Responsibly, of course.)
Meditation is not just for the mind and soul. A daily practice of meditation also does wonders for the body. Because it reorients us into the direction of relaxation, our nervous system has a chance to unwind, regroup, and recharge. I recommend meditating daily first thing in the morning or before bed for at least 30 minutes to receive the full benefits.
13. Drink herbal tea.
Drinking herbal teas throughout the day is an easy way to bring nourishment and balance into our bodies and minds. Mixing my own herbal blends is one of my favorite daily rituals, though you could just as easily grab some tea bags if alchemy isn't your thing. Tip: Determine what you wish to support (such as hormonal balance, digestion, a particular organ or feeling, like calmness or joy), and drink a corresponding tea as a means of bringing resolution, love, and strength into that area. If this is a new concept for you, or if you feel uncertain about it, consult a health practitioner for more guidance.
14. Get off your phone.
Chill with the social media and all the phone time. We don't need any science experiment to prove to us how much these outlets drain our energy. Reorient your attention onto that which increases good energy in your life and boosts your sense of well-being. Not being addicted to your phone means a happier body, mind, and soul. My biggest thank-you of the year goes to the company that created the app that kills my Facebook newsfeed.
15. Do everything in moderation—including moderation.
Strictness is a sickness! Loosen up and make sure you don't take it all too seriously.