Freedom is a Choice
July is a significant month for Americans as we celebrate the founding of our nation. The core of our founding documents; the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights, is the premise of personal freedom. Regardless of political opinions, the fact remains that every human being has the option to choose what to think, what to feel, and what to do at any given time. This stands true throughout the world, as evidenced from the many freedom fighters or freedom coalitions active in even the most repressive countries. In America, we have the luxury of having this freedom codified in our founding documents. Even so, we each have a choice to make every day…do we strengthen our freedom or diminish it?
This month we explore different avenues of choice and focus on ways to exercise our willingness to BE free, which comes with responsibility and accountability, but also tremendous joy, peace, and fulfillment!
Personal Freedom = Personal Responsibility
We live in a culture that promotes the notion that we as individuals are not responsible for our actions. Our actions are a product of our upbringing, our environment, our economic status, our gender, our ethnicity, our ideologies, or the byproduct of someone’s influence or force. This premise implies that we are not capable of critical thought, reasoning, or affecting our destiny.
The perhaps unpopular truth is that each of us has the opportunity to choose how we think, how we feel, and how we behave at any given time, regardless of what we are experiencing. We, as thinking beings, can choose how we respond to stimuli. We, as thinking beings, can reflect on our situations and choose to respond. This is the ultimate freedom! After all, we are human-BEINGS not human-DOINGS.
“A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.” — James Madison
I submit that we may not need to be instructed, but simply reminded that we are, by divine creation, a free people. We are by design, capable of choice in every moment. That also means that by design, we are responsible for our own thoughts, our own feelings and our own actions. How different would life be if every person took ownership of the choices they make every day? How different would YOUR life be if you took responsibility, if you took ownership of your actions and behaviors? If you took ownership of YOUR thoughts and feelings? Rather than a burden, responsibility is empowering! No longer would you be at the effect of other people’s actions. This is where true joy, peace, and fulfillment reside.
Pause > Breathe > Reframe
Three simple steps to access that joyfulness, peace, and fulfillment. Pause, literally stop. Hit the pause button. Give yourself time and space in that moment of stress. Breathe, take a few deep, cleansing breaths; in through the nose, out through the mouth. Inhale deeply, exhale deeply and slowly. Take as many as you need to decompress and enable the next step. Reframe, identify what you’re thinking and feeling then ask yourself if that’s what you WANT to think and feel. If yes, carry on. If not, choose to think and feel differently. This is where the behavior change occurs. Another way to reframe your thoughts is to assess if you are being judgmental or controlling. If so, consider what other options or perspectives are applicable other than yours. Considering that there are many options or perspectives allows you to objectively, not emotionally, choose to respond with what’s best for you and the situation.
Connect with me to learn how to practice this consistently and confidently!
Get Outside and Pick Some Blueberries
July is National Blueberry Month! What a great reason to get outside, find a blueberry farm, and go pick some fresh blueberries! Not only are blueberries good for you, chocked full of antioxidants, but while you’re picking blueberries you’ll also be absorbing some of that life giving sunlight. It is a widely known fact that sunshine lifts our mood and improves our overall well-being. Consider your moments in the sun as sun therapy or heliotherapy, because it is! Even Hippocrates, the “father of medicine” wrote about the benefits of controlled sun exposure. The key is to plan your sun therapy.
A study by the Solar Radiation Research Group published in the journal, Science of the Total Environment, showed that as little as 10 to 20 minutes of sun exposure is enough to satisfy the daily suggested requirements of Vitamin D, as shared by TheHealthy.com. Of course variables such as where you live, what you’re wearing and your skin type affect how much or how little sunlight your body needs. Aside from the immune system benefits of Vitamin D, sun therapy can improve mental wellness, emotional health and even increase inspiration. Intelligent Change cited a San Diego study which found that a lack of sunlight resulted in hampered mood and symptoms of depression among their residents! There is an unbreakable bond between mind and body; sunlight provides rewarding and positive benefits for both.
Of course, avoid peak UV periods of the day and/or limit your sun therapy during those times. Simple activities to reap the benefits of your new sun therapy habit include:
* Taking a walk
* Exercising outside
* Sitting on the patio listening to music or reading a book
* Mowing the lawn
* Playing with your kids or grandkids
* Socializing with friends at the park
* Eat lunch outside
* Sit next to a sunlit window
* Schedule your meeting outside
This isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity to maintain optimal physical, mental, and spiritual health! So go ahead, get outside…even 10 minutes will make a big difference.
And that reminds me, it’s time for me to pick blueberries on our mini-farm! 36 pounds of blueberries so far this year!
Remember when you said, “When it warms up, then I’ll start to exercise.” Well, today it’s 94 degrees in Missouri so it’s definitely warm! Whether you exercise outside or inside, no more excuses.
Exercise is relative. Just move your body. Don’t like to run? No worries, walking is excellent for cardiovascular health. Not the typical “gym rat?” You’re in luck, with summer comes many opportunities to join outdoor clubs, from sailing to hiking or kayaking to golf or pickleball to softball. There are active clubs and leagues for everyone, regardless of age!
Prefer working out in the comfort of your home gym or living room? Not a problem, there are hundreds of programs available, 24/7 on the Beach Body App. If you want to lengthen your life span, improve your physical and mental health, or simply improve your mobility…exercise is the ticket! With as little as 30 minutes per day, you can make significant improvement in your overall wellness and decrease stress simply by moving your body and elevating your heart rate. What does being physically fit mean to you? Envision what you can do if you are at a level of fitness that enables you to participate in whatever activity you choose! Imagine the satisfaction, inner peace and joy that comes with a healthy mind, body, and soul.
Not sure how to get started? Are prior false starts haunting you? It really comes down to replacing hurtful habits with helpful ones and practicing those helpful habits consistently. Having a partner to guide you on the journey may be what you need to begin your new, healthy lifestyle. Click the button below or the image to get started!
BE the change you want to see!