Welcome to my new Intentional Wellness Blog!
Want to be healthier, happier, and less stressed? Want to feel that way on a more consistent basis? Not just when all the stars are perfectly aligned, and everything is going your way? It’s safe to say we all want that. The question is, is it possible? And if so, how?
First, I can tell you it is possible. It’s not effortless. It takes consistent practice. But it is possible, if you’re committed to getting intentional about it. The key is paying attention to (and making wise choices about) what you think, believe, say, and do on a regular basis.
When you think about it, these four things make up the bulk of our life experiences. But most of the time, we’re so busy with the rush of daily living, we don’t give much thought to the quality of our thoughts. We don’t examine our beliefs to see how and where they’re steering us. We often function on autopilot, paying little attention to how what we’re saying and doing might be creating ripple effects in our life.
It’s the little things that add up over time to sculpt our lives. And when big, life-altering events occur, it’s the wellness we’ve cultivated over time that sees us through.
What is Intentional Wellness?
Intentional wellness means consciously choosing that which best supports health & balance in our body, mind, & spirit. On a daily basis. In the moment-to-moment.
My name is Rose Hahn. I started this intentional wellness blog to share tips and strategies for healthy living for the mind, body, and spirit. Things I’ve learned over many years of intentional practice & research to sustain my own intentional wellness. You can learn more about my journey here.
This blog is all about bringing the power of intentional awareness into daily life. So what we think, believe, say, and do on a regular basis supports our ultimate well-being. It’ll cover everything from yoga, mindfulness, nutrition, and mental health news and tips to fun ways to help yourself stay in shape – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
To kick it off, I’d like to share 4 simple ways I started being more intentional about my happiness and health. They’re basic, and yet they’ve created incredibly powerful shifts in my overall well-being. They can do the same for you.
1. Think Twice
A wise counselor once told me: The mind is like a giant gland. Instead of constantly secreting enzymes, it secretes an endless stream of thoughts, most of which are useless.
I like that analogy. It fits what I’ve observed in meditation practice, when thoughts keep popping up for no recognizable reason. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what our brains are made for – thinking. The problem arises when we give too much weight to the thoughts our minds produce. As if just because we thought them, they’re important or true.
This thinking-twice tip is really the cornerstone of intentional wellness. Because if your thoughts are working against you, you’re going to have a difficult time trying to create health and happiness in your life.
Thoughts Can Be Harmful
The truth is, many of our thoughts are not only useless, they’re harmful. They can generate anxiety, stress, depression, insecurity, or worse. To think twice means to evaluate your thoughts rather than accepting them automatically. It means to consider other possible interpretations. To contemplate whether a particular thought is actually helping or harming you. It can mean setting a thought aside for another time, so you can focus on a task or get to sleep at night.
Essentially, thinking twice means being intentional about your thoughts, so you can choose which thoughts to hold onto and which to let pass on by. This is the C in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s not just useful in therapy. It’s a life tool we all can use to be our healthiest, happiest selves.
Try thinking twice today. Pay attention to what your mind is doing and how it makes you feel. Ask yourself if what you’re thinking is helping or harming you. Try letting the troublesome or useless thoughts go. Notice how it feels to simply move on. Repeat if necessary.
2. Check Your Beliefs
Beliefs are far more powerful than thoughts. They’re the thoughts you’ve claimed as personal truths, and they’re very sticky. Once you’ve accepted something as a belief, it becomes a part of who you are. A lens through which you view your life. What you believe about yourself, other people, and the world in general greatly influences the way you experience life.
Case in point: I used to be very shy. I’d get twisted up with nerves before going into new social situations. And once I got there, I’d sit quietly, waiting for someone else to initiate conversation with me. My husband, on the other hand, is a social butterfly. Super outgoing and charismatic. One day, years ago, he gave me a suggestion that changed my life. He said, “Why don’t you try walking into a room with the assumption that everyone there is going to like you? That they’re all eager to meet you?”
Hearing those words, and imagining myself doing what he’d suggested, I realized I’d been walking into rooms for years with the OPPOSITE belief about myself. Somewhere along the way, I’d adopted the notion that I wasn’t likable. Which, now that it was out in the open for me to look at, I knew wasn’t true. Letting go of that toxic belief opened all kinds of doors for me.
Are Your Core Beliefs Working for You or Against You?
Beliefs are not only sticky, they’re tricky. Many of us have negative core beliefs we adopted as children without realizing it. They’ve had us hooked for years, corrupting our ability to make the best choices for our health and happiness. And we’re not even sure how we came to believe them in the first place. Some common problematic ones are I’m not lovable and I’m not good enough.
Identifying old beliefs that are not only un-useful, but harmful is vitally important to intentional wellness. Once these beliefs have been identified, we can start to unravel their hold on us. We can challenge them every time they pop up rather than letting them control what we think, do, and say in subtle and/or powerful ways.
Do you have an old core belief that’s undermining your life choices? Bring it into the light of awareness and examine it. Imagine what it would feel like to believe the opposite. If the answer’s much better, set the intention to start rooting out this toxic belief.
3. Speak as if your words will be carved in stone
That’s dramatic, I know. It’s intended to be. A little dramatic thoughtfulness with regards to how you speak (before you actually speak) can prevent a lot of drama (aka stress) further down the road.
Words spoken carelessly or in anger can cause harm, and not just for the people to or about whom we speak. Gossip, for example, can be incredibly disruptive, and its poison usually finds a way of coming back around to its source, like a boomerang.
I was in my thirties when I realized how the gossip that was spreading through a group of friends was stirring up drama, eating up time, and generally making life miserable for everyone involved. I stepped away from it, refused to engage in it, and found my life suddenly got more peaceful and pleasant.
I’ve been cautious about gossip ever since. The juicier the story, the more likely it is to draw me into some drama that’s not even my business to begin with. Best to simply resist and stay focused on what is my business…my own wellbeing.
Toxic Speech Attracts Drama
But gossip isn’t the only speech that can be harmful. Lies are toxic, to us and to others. They breed confusion and distrust and create cognitive dissonance within us. They put us in a state of inner resistance, fueled by guilt and the fear of getting caught. Not to mention, if our lies are exposed, we’ve got a whole other set of problems to contend with.
When we speak in anger or disrespect, we create enemies at worst and disharmony at best. Words are powerful, and once spoken, can’t be taken back. When we’re angry, sometimes it’s best to step away, let our tempers cool, and come back to talk when we can choose our words wisely. It’s okay to agree to disagree or to simply choose silence. Sometimes, that’s our best option.
Bottom line, what you say can stir drama that drains you, or it can support harmony and health that sustains you. Make it a priority to choose the latter and you’ll find life is naturally less stressful and more peaceful.
Set the intention to speak with honesty, respect, and integrity today. No matter what, stick with it throughout the day. At the end of the day, reflect on how this focus affected your interactions.
4. Do something intentional every day that supports your well-being
There are two pieces to this tip – the doing and the intending. Doing something that’s healthy every day is obviously good for us. Ideally, we’re doing a lot of things that are healthy for us every day (i.e. eating nutritious foods, exercising, getting a good night’s sleep, etc.) It’s the added focus on intending that makes this a powerful practice.
You may already be in the habit of doing healthy things. If you are, congratulations! Healthy habits are the foundation of self-care. But I’m encouraging you to add something new to the picture – either another action, or an intentional awareness to the thing you’re already doing on a daily basis. Because this tip is about bringing the power of intention into your life and connecting it to action.
By focusing on your intention to create health, vitality, and well-being in your life on a daily basis, you’re setting the foundation for every other choice you’ll make that day. You’ve asserted your commitment to intentional wellness, and by doing so, it becomes the lens through which every other event can be viewed.
Is this choice about what to eat, what to think, what to believe, what to say, or what to do aligned with my intention to be healthy and happy? If not, what should I choose instead?
What Can You Do?
Doing something that intentionally supports your well-being can be as simple as setting aside time to create your day. You can use my free, 12-minute guided meditation download for this. Or, take time to give thanks for all the blessings in your life, establishing an attitude of gratitude. It can be doing a body scan to check in with your body before starting exercise, or eating with mindful awareness of the healthy nutrition you’re giving your body. It can even be a prayer.
As long as it’s healthy and you’re doing it with the intention to commit to a wellness lifestyle, it works.
I’m happy you found your way to my blog and hope you’ll check back for more insights and tips on developing a lifestyle that supports your healthy mind, body, and spirit. Subscribe to my newsletter if you’d like to receive notification of weekly posts. (You’ll receive a free, 12-minute MP3 download with a guided meditation for intentional wellness when you do.) It’s one more simple (yet powerful) way to cultivate intentional wellness in your life.
Tell me what you think. Any of these tips resonate with you?