Internal vs External Environment

As human’s moving on this Earth, we have a relationship with both our external and internal environments.
Society requires us to interact with our external environment, but it is up to us to make time for our internal environment, our inner self.
We spend a lot of time working, which is a very cerebral activity, and often stressful. Stress engages the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). The opposite of the SNS is the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). The PNS can be switched on with restorative activities:
  • INTENTIONAL ABDOMINAL BREATHING

    The breath can be used to stimulate the PNS. Digestion is a PNS activity.
    • Before and after a stressful interaction/event
    • Before eating a meal to optimize digestion
  • BODY SCANNING

    Being aware of your external environment is important. You have to know what is going on around you to make good decisions and stay safe. Being aware of your internal environment is also important. I’m not just talking about noticing when you are warm or cold, or if a muscle is tight or painful. By being aware of how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally in all environments, allows you to take better care of yourself.
    • Recognize your mental chatter and how redundant it is
    • Assess how your thoughts make your body feel
    • Check in with your physical structure once an hour to see if you need to change your position
    • Use intentional, abdominal breathing to calm your mind when needed
    • While doing a movement activity, assess where you feel tightness
    • Practice focusing your mind on a spot internally to recruit your body’s resources to improve it
  • MINDFUL MOVEMENT

    Meditation is a state of mind. To be full present in the moment. Therefore, you can practice meditation in any environment – lying down, sitting, standing, or moving. I recommend practicing presence during activities where you can be on autopilot, such as washing the dishes, or taking a shower.

  • ACUPUNCTURE and MASSAGE

    If you receive massage or acupuncture, I highly recommend that you use your intention to participate in the session. You can use body scanning to assess where the practitioner is working, or you can accentuate your body’s response by putting your intention there. You can also follow your breath and meditate during the session, versus contemplate what you need to get done when you leave your appointment.

  • HOBBY

    When we engage in an activity that we enjoy, it stimulates our repair system. And many of these activities require us to focus on what we are doing, which is a form of mindfulness practice.

  • STATE OF MIND

    Even when we are managing the mundane, such as household and life responsibilities, we can chose to be annoyed and stressed (SNS), or calm and relaxed (PNS).