Devoting Nov 2022 to #PracticingGentleness

I am Working On Being Better Than Before

By focusing on self-care and practicing gentleness

From Picjumbo — Photo by Viktor Hanacek

If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it is this: we only directly experience life through the present moment, in the here and now. To feel happy, to be better than before, to get something done, or to connect with a loved one, it’s essential to bring our awareness into the present moment.

Because now is all we can be sure of.

The past month has been a bit unreal with sad news. It was devastating to lose a really close family member, followed by two more deaths in the family.

This brought home the fact that life is transient and we must hold every single moment close to our hearts and make the most of it.

We have to slow down to appreciate every moment. I find it tragic that virtually all of us end up becoming so distracted by our goals, worries, aspirations, and ruminations that we entirely lose track of our blessings.

How can we stop, pause and take stock?

How can be practice gentleness with ourselves?

The answer is: By slowing down consciously to focus on what matters

Here is how I am practicing gentleness with gratitude.

Savoring positive moments and experiences

It is impossible to enjoy life when we are always rushing around and keep our attention focused rigidly on the next goal, milestone, or checklist item that stands before us. Before we know it, life slips by leaving regret in its wake.

Rather than worry about things I cannot change, I’ve made it a point to slow down consciously. No more rushing through meal times or gulping my coffee. I take time to notice and appreciate each sip, the taste, the aroma, and the texture — all of which lead to a more positive experience. The world is indeed a more magical place when we notice the little things in our lives.

I am prioritizing my health

My first priority was to get my health back on track. I started a new health routine to manage diabetes at the beginning of August and it has kept me busy in the kitchen as I try to settle into the process. Would you laugh if I told you that it seems like half my time goes in cleaning greens? The good news is I am seeing the results of my efforts and that keeps me motivated.

Doing this keeps me stress-free and I am aware that this is very important to manage my blood sugar levels. My new health routine is working for me and my fasting sugar is much better than before. I also make sure I eat on time every day with an early dinner. Still struggling with sleeping early — I am working on that too.

I have also begun to enjoy my fitness classes more — it is amazing how consistent practice makes many things easier and turns them into something we look forward to eagerly! And of course, I am grateful to be enjoying a fitness routine from the comfort of my home.

I am getting enough sleep, and safeguarding empowering routines and cycles

To a significant degree, our ability to thrive and appreciate each day has a lot to do with the routines and cycles we follow. I have been reading a lot about sleep and diabetes.

During a long chat with a health expert, she explained that sleep is one of the fundamental areas where having good and consistent routines in place is essential, because our circadian rhythms are highly influenced by our regular bedtime, and by the light exposure we encounter at different times of day, in addition to when we eat our meals. Also, healthy circadian rhythms are associated with all sorts of positive health outcomes, whereas disrupted circadian rhythms are closely linked to a range of diseases and issues both physical and mental.

This is not news to most of us.

However, following good sleep routines is often a problem, at least for me because working late at night is oh-so-convenient — it is quiet, there are no doorbells, and no phone calls and these are all plus points to getting a lot of work done.

Well, I do know that the same applies to the early morning hours and so, I am letting go of the temptation to watch “just 15 minutes” of that show or read “just 10 pages” of that novel.

I am just switching off the light and closing my eyes because when we get enough good quality sleep, the world is a much brighter place. Definitely feels good when I wake up in the morning! I feel rather proud of myself for making this change and sleeping better than before.

I am doing a “daily review” each night, where I reflect on things that I am grateful for

I remember, during my childhood, my mom would encourage me to list three things I felt happy about before I went to sleep. I believe that this practice helped me have good dreams. Yeah, I know! But as I grew older, I found that practicing a bit of reflection, in the form of a “daily review” each night before going to sleep, can be very powerful for many reasons– ranging from identifying behaviors that you’re not too proud of engaging in — that you want to change, to noticing and appreciating the things you have to be grateful for.

I am making more time for things that I enjoy rather than being fixated on being constantly productive.

It’s important to be able to get things done, and to be productive when the time is right — but buying into the cult of hyper-productivity, and the supposed need to spend every minute of every day “hustling” or “grinding” tends to be a recipe for misery and frustration, as I have found out.

Rather than whine about how there’s hardly any time to do all the things I want to do, I have begun to MAKE more time for things that I find enjoyable and fulfilling. These include various side projects, catching up on my reading, sketching, and of course, just lounging on the couch with a book and letting myself drift away into daydreamland.

While being active is important, I know that I really don’t need to be on the go all the time. I am very glad I am slowing down and it has been a positive experience.

I am practicing gratitude

Just about anything can be a source of gratitude on a given day. Even something like a phone call with a friend, kindness from a stranger who held the door open because my hands were full of bags, or simply the fact that I am alive — all of these count. All it takes is a moment to mindfully notice and appreciate.

Either way, my enjoyment and appreciation of life has been meaningfully enhanced by regularly reminding myself of what I have to be grateful for, instead of just being constantly distracted by things that I anyway have no control over.

To sum up

I am grateful for all the changes I’ve been making in my life this past month. My health has been decent; I am less stressed and calmer, I am more productive at work as a result of this. Mostly, it has been a time for a lot of self-reflection and I feel much better.

How are you practicing gentleness?

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Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles

Writing about Self Improvement, Mindfulness, Meditation, Parenting, Health, Travel, Life, Books. Showing my diabetes who’s boss. Visit: https://vidyasury.com