Have you ever asked yourself the question “how can I live in vitality?”
In a way, it’s a much better self-question than “how can I eat better?” Or “how can I exercise more?” Or “how can I have more energy?”
I know that for me, it is not just about healthy eating and exercise — it’s about enjoying the life I have chosen and living in vitality. That’s the big goal. And if I’m truly living in vitality all of those other factors fall into place. I think it also means that my body’s innate wisdom and systems are working together to not only maintain my health, but also my well-being. If I’m living in vitality, I’m focused on today.
One of the main reasons we built Sunlighten was to not only help individuals heal from illness and injury, but also to help them improve their quality of life and truly enjoy each day versus going through the motions. We live a lot longer today than just a few decades ago, and we should commit to sharpening each aspect of our life. I do what it takes to surround myself with positive energy.
Making New Connections
I recently had the privilege of hearing Richard Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS, speak at the LIV: Living in Vitality event hosted by Shawnee Mission Medical Center on October 2nd in Kansas City. Dr. Carmona has a storied life, from a poor upbringing in Harlem to joining the Army and serving in Vietnam, to going to medical school and ultimately rising to the top medical professional position — U.S. Surgeon General — from 2002-2006. He now serves as the CEO of Canyon Ranch Institute and as a Distinguished Professor at the Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona.
Dr. Carmona riveted the audience of more than 1,000 women (and a few men) interested in learning more about living in vitality and empowering their wellness. I was particularly struck by his thinking about the plasticity of the brain. We aren’t as hardwired as most of us think, and we can change our wiring even as we age — it’s not just the purview of the young.
Even at an advanced age, the mind can be rewired to recover from injury and illness, or can be re-strengthened after a cognitive decline. In his book, 30 Days to a Better Brain, Carmona and his team at Canyon Ranch relay the latest information about brain science. The book also provides a 30-day program to help people make the best choices every day to improve their physical ability and preserve their cognitive function. In his talk, I was pleased to hear him stress the importance of nutrition, exercise, sleep, reduced stress, and social connections to the health of our neural networks. That reinforces many of our wellness philosophies at Sunlighten.
Creating New Habits
At that same event, our luncheon speaker, Christine Cashen, equally riveted the audience, but from an entirely different perspective. As a self-proclaimed humorista, Cashen unknowingly demonstrated a number of Dr. Carmona’s principles about how the brain is wired and can be re-wired. The one that really stands out to me is her idea of faking a good mood.
She called it the “Take the 2-Hour Good Mood Commitment Challenge.” Here’s how she describes the concept in her book The Good Stuff: Quips and Tips on Life, Love, Work and Happiness:
You start your day by deciding that regardless of what happens, you are in a good mood, no matter what. You don’t have to act like you’re in a good mood. You just say it for the first two hours of the day. Come on, you can do it. No whining. Not today. Why? Say it out loud, “It’s a good thing I’m in a good mood.”
No matter if someone leaves an empty orange carton in the fridge, cuts you off in traffic, or takes your parking spot, you think to yourself, “normally that would bother me, but not today, because I’m in a good mood.”
The beauty of this concept is that Cashen’s “good mood filter” more often than not actually puts you in a good mood. And when you see other people’s reactions to your self-proclaimed good mood, you’ll know what she’s talking about!
Rewiring for Life
To me, her idea of putting yourself in a good mood is a spectacular example of what Dr. Carmona was talking about. We can control our cognitive function for the better — it’s in our purview and our DNA. Imagine if you said “because I’m in a good mood” to everything that could bother you for 30 days in a row. I suspect that your neural patterns would re-wire for a more positive outlook and it would become a habit to be in a good mood without even trying.
At Sunlighten, we are always looking for opportunities to make a difference and help our customers make positive habits a priority in their life. Our focus on detoxification is one way we make a contribution to wellness and vitality. Our customers who make a commitment to using their sauna on a regular basis will not only be healthier but also create new neural connections to support their ability to enjoy each day, be happy, and live in vitality.
What are you doing to live in vitality? Share your ideas with @Sunlighten. We’d love to learn from you.