Cultivating Vitality With Michelle: Creating Something Different This Year

By MICHELLE HARKEY-WILDE
Los Alamos

Each year this day rolls around. Some people are still recovering from the excesses of their New Year celebration, but some of you are awake and contemplating the Big Decision: should I make New Year’s Resolutions?

Past experience, if you’re like most of us, says that a new set of yearly expectations only leads to a new set of “failures” sometime in January.

I really don’t enjoy repeated failure. That’s why I changed how I do this resolution thing.

Instead of a great big push to totally change life at the beginning of the year, I opt for small sustained changes which gradually accumulate. I highly recommend it.

The caution is that some of the changes are so subtle that people are inclined to give them little regard. I sometimes hear, “I already know that.” Great! Are you doing it? Are you getting the results you want? Do you live a life of vitality and fulfilment? Knowledge is valuable, but consistent right action is more valuable.

Big changes can seem overwhelming, frightening, even dangerous to the hidden mind (the body-mind we’re not consciously using). Research done by experts in the neuroscience field, such as Bessel van der Kolk, a Dutch psychiatrist, and Stephen Porges, known for the Polyvagal Theory, help us understand the unintended consequences of trying to live life when the hidden mind is concerned about safety.

The reaction of the hidden body-mind is, in my opinion, one of the reasons why so many people fizzle on their New Year’s Resolutions.

While you might want to delve deep into the science behind it, for now (since it will probably take a while to read those books and the research), realize it is best to minimize drastic, overwhelming changes and gradually learn to calm the hidden mind.

That’s what we’re going to do together.

Here’s where I insert the caution that this isn’t for everyone and you should check with your health care practitioners, including mental health practitioners, before starting anything new.

So, if you’re game to try this, let’s begin with a biggie . . . Water.

How much of it are you drinking each day?

What counts as “water” you ask? Good question. Clear, clean water is water. Add a slice of fruit (lemon is my preference) or vegetable (like cucumber) or a sprig of mint if you want a flavor.

For this week, keep track of how much water you’re drinking each day. Ounces, milliliters, either is fine. Don’t change what you’re drinking, just track it.

Next week we’ll compare what you’re drinking with what is recommended and move on to the next step. Join me in a week!

Michelle Harkey-Wilde is a Body-Connection Coach, licensed mental health counselor, massage therapist and integrative wellness specialist. This column is for educational purposes only and does not create a client-practitioner relationship. Consult with your physical and mental health practitioners before implementing any new practice.

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