Nine Ways to Enhance Your Life

By Ron Esposito - February 2014

In his poem “Interrelationship”, the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh states, “I transform the garbage in myself so that you will not have to suffer”.  This is a powerful statement about how our consciousness can affect ourselves and others.  By attending to our own self-work, we grow in awareness and can be of benefit to ourselves and others.

1. For five or ten minutes practice deep breathing in through the nose and down into the belly then slowly exhaling through the mouth can help center the mind and replenish the body.  Attention to the breath puts us in the present moment and sharpens focus.  In yoga, breathing exercises are called “pranayama”.

2. Express gratitude for what I already have…  At my best, my constant prayer is that of gratitude for everything, no matter how you label it.  Envy and jealousy keep me in a state of craving, surely leading to suffering.  When I practice an attitude of gratitude I’m operating from a more abundant mindset that leads to real appreciation for what I have in my life.

3. Meditate… Focusing on the breath and being present to the moment, observing the mind, heart and body.  When thinking, imagining, remembering, planning, feelings and sensations are noticed they are labeled as such and gently let go, returning to the breath.  Meditation creates more space internally and helps develop a centered quality.  Getting in touch with “just being” refreshes our whole organism.  Forget about not having any thoughts, etc.  You’re going to have them.  The deal is to notice and return to the breath.  Be gentle, you don’t have to do it “right”.

4. Clean up unresolved relationships…When I take full responsibility for my thinking, feeling and behaving, as well as my underlying motivation, I feel empowered.  I serve myself and others best when I admit when I have been wrong and take action to change what I can.  Relationship takes “two to tango” and is a “two way street”.  It is incumbent upon me to look at my side of the “street”.  I cannot control other people and need to engage with an open heart.  Sometimes we have to agree to disagree. 

5. Set limits…Developing healthy boundaries can ensure better relationships.  I have to know where I end and another person begins.  I cannot be everything to everybody.  Sometimes I need to say no.  Knowing and accepting my limits in any given situation can stave off resentment.  Monitoring the “need to be needed” can be helpful in setting limits.

6. Take time for yourself…It is important for me to take some time for myself to renew and replenish my energy, engaging in activities that have a positive effect on me.  Working out, reading, meditating, watching a movie, attending a class, being in nature and enjoying a hobby are ways for me to take time for myself.  Developing self-love pays real dividends.

7. Get enough sleep… Sleep is vital for physiological and mental health.  Like many of the things on this list, it is crucial to self-care.  Aside from the physical need for sleep, our mind needs to rest as well.  The mind does not operate well in a sleep-deprived state.  Getting enough sleep enables the body to rejuvenate itself and enhances clarity of mind.  The body and mind are not separate.  Each affects the other.

8. Physical activity… The body is often taken for granted and needs to be used to maintain optimum health.  Muscles need to be worked to maintain tone and strength.  Walking, swimming, running, stretching and exercising with weights help the body to remain vital.  Poor musculature can have a negative impact on us, particularly as we age.  It is important to pay attention to the body since it is the carriage that gets us through life.  Getting the body moving will help ensure longevity and quality of life.  Paying as much attention to the body as we do the mind will reap benefits. On a cellular level, physical activity can have a positive influence on brain chemistry.

9. Invest in your emotional health… Attending to our inner life is vital to our well-being.  The ability to notice our feelings and emotions aids us in processing them in our interior and with others.  Sharing our interior life with others builds intimacy and is part of self-revelation.  Intimacy can be understood as “into-me-see”.  Exploring our emotional depths through the arts, personal coaching and community can be cathartic and channel energy, leading to insight.  There is a richness and multi-faceted hue to the emotions and the experience of them.  In my life, music, art and poetry have been vehicles for my emotional  exploration.  Inner space is the deepest place we can go.

Ron Esposito, M.A, is a certified Life Coach, Enneagram Teacher/Trainer and a teacher in the School of Conscious Living.  Contact: ron.esposito@goconscious.com

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