Earlier this year I went for a drive intent on finding the house of my childhood. I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to see what it looked like now. As I was driving down the familiar street, I saw all the homes that look basically the same. They are standard in size and shape, the only difference is the choice of color the owners chose to paint their house. In order to find my particular house I needed to focus on finding the address. I was looking for the numbers 378 which would tell me I had found MY home out of all of these homes on this particular street. When I found it, I noticed a jump in my heart, and a smile on my face. Many memories and feelings came into focus for me as I sat in my car looking at my childhood home.
This process of focusing on the specific numbers that would tell me I had found my home is similar to the Self-Love Diet tool of expanding and embodying your focus.
Where, what and who we focus on tells us a lot about ourselves. Do you have a Self-Love Diet practice of focusing on your blessings until you can feel the sensations of gratitude in your body? If not, you are like the majority of human beings who focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s right or important.
Focusing on important things that bring you joy, health, contentment and love is a wonderful practice. Many people call this practice, “counting your blessings” or a “gratitude practice.” You will learn a tool to expand this practice as you focus on the prompt for this month of December which is: “Focus on what’s important.”
Let’s say I decide to focus on the importance of my health. This is a broad focus, which is a good practice to have. However there is a difference between focusing on the blessing of health, and focusing on a specific example of health. Just as it was important for me to look at all of the houses in my old neighborhood in order to find my specific childhood home, all of those other homes did not have the power to illicit positive memories for me like my specific childhood home did.
By choosing a specific example of a time you were grateful for something, let’s say your health, you add power, and actual physical, emotional and spiritual healing to your body, emotions and spirit.
When I chose to focus on my health, if I remember how it felt to hike up the hill in my favorite park, I am using a specific example of feeling healthy. Through this example of mine, I will guide you to utilize the different areas of your brain in a way that will help you expand and embody the practice of focusing on what’s important to you.
By focusing on these different areas I expand and embody the experience of being grateful for my health.
Visual: I see the steep hill before me and the orange poppies along the side of the asphalt path, the sun is shining, I see the white clouds in the sky, the varying shades of green of the rolling hills, trees and shrubs in the background.
Auditory: I hear the occasional call of the birds in the area, the gentle sound of the wind blowing through the trees and the distant background sound of traffic that replicates the sound of the ocean.
Olfactory: I smell the fresh clean air and a faint sweet aroma of something like hay.
Sensate: I feel the cool breeze along with the warmth of the sun on my face. I notice my legs stretching comfortably and my heart beat increasing along with my breath as I hike the incline. I am aware of a sense of elation and well being in my chest and core as I reach the top of the hill.
Our brains don’t know the difference between imagining an experience and actually being in the experience. When I delve more deeply into my memory to elicit this hike my brain activates the muscles involved in the hike, the energy that was surging through my body and the serotonin levels in my brain as I reached the top of the hill.
We all know how to do this, except it usually goes something like this: We think to ourselves: “I have to do x,y and z and I won’t have enough time to get it all done.” We imagine not being able to complete the tasks before us, and we may find ourselves awake at night thinking about all the things we have to do. When we do this, our brain gets activated and sends out adrenaline into our body because it mistakenly believes we are in the midst of our stressful situation instead of lying in the comfort of our bed.
I hope you will make a commitment to use this tool of expanding and embodying your focus mindfully. Choose to focus on those things and people who are important to you. Choose a specific time and focus on all your senses until you can feel the well being in your body. What a great holiday gift to yourself!
I invite you to submit your story of focusing on what’s important to you at www.selflovewarrior.com If you want to write about something else you can go to https://selflovewarrior.com/self-love-group-blog-posting-guidelines/ to see our submission guidelines.
Blessings on your Self-Love Diet!
Michelle Minero, the Co-Founder of this blog and the overarching Love Warrior Community published her book, Self-Love Diet: The Only Diet That Works. You can buy her book online or at stores in Petaluma, Sonoma and Healdsburg, California. For upcoming events and book signings, visit Michelle’s Events page.
Michelle Minero is a licensed marriage family therapist who specializes in eating disorder recovery. Michelle’s book, Self-Love Diet: The Only Diet That Works, was published on January 23, 2013. You can purchase a copy through Amazon. Her dream is to see a world filled with people who love themselves and their bodies.
Michelle created an intensive outpatient eating disorder program in 2000, brought ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.) to Petaluma shortly after and founded EDRS (Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc.), a Marin and Sonoma County based 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2005. In 2011, Michelle co-founded the Love Warrior Community with her daughter, Emelina, an online community that helps people cultivate self-love, self-acceptance and body acceptance through creative expression. Connect with Michelle on Facebook and Twitter.