Sunday, December 26, 2010

Level of Wellness and Crime of the Century Relaxation Exercise

Based on my reflections, I would say on a scale of 1 to 10 that I rate my physical being as an 8, my spiritual being as a 7, and my psychological well-being is a 5.

My physical being is very important to me, and I make it a daily habit to eat healthy meals and engage in physical activity six days a week with one day to rest. I enjoy running, cycling, swimming, playing basketball and tennis with my kids, kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, strength training, and weight lifting.

While many people claim to be spiritual, I wonder what they mean when they toss this word around. For me, being spiritual is spending time alone to find inner peace, time to reflect and resolve difficult life issues, and focusing on building relationships. I enjoy my time spent engaging in guided imagery, yoga, meditation, and monthly massages from my personal masseuse. I also love to spend time outdoors in nature to reflect on personal issues, or to be awed at the beauty of God’s gift to man. In addition, I enjoy volunteering in my community to feel a sense of self-worth and connected to other people…and for the days I am my wit’s end, I call out to God and pray for strength, guidance, and patience.

I admit that my psychological well-being requires lots of work. I have a tendency to keep my emotions to myself and not share my feelings with others. In addition, my husband has been working out of state for the past 8 months, and it has been a very difficult time for me emotionally and spiritually; but I have been learning to manage on my own through running, prayer, and yoga. I have been trying to journal, but that takes work which frustrates me as I enjoy writing, but do not enjoy writing about my feelings as I prefer to think and reflect about my feelings and thoughts. As such, l also lack social support other than my long distance husband and my teen kids.

My goal for my physical health is to maintain the current activities I participate in to keep a balanced exercise program of cardio, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility exercises. I find that this keeps my workouts refreshing without becoming stale and stagnant. For example, lately I have been working more on developing my upper body strength with target exercise to build my arms for preparation of my first pull-up. Likewise, being physical keeps my mind alert, focused, and relaxed when I feel stressed.

For my spiritual wellbeing, my goal is to keep prayer a daily routine and include a scheduled time to meditate daily so I can learn to tap into my inner wisdom to keep me centered and balanced in times of stress, in addition to feeling relaxed and at peace. I would love to get back to my daily devotions where I can spend more spiritual time being connected to God and get back into the routine of going to church on Sundays instead of spending my time doing school work.

In terms of my psychological wellbeing, I plan to work on focusing on my awareness through my deep breathing exercises, practice being grateful; loving-kindness; and forgiving myself and others, not being too hard on myself or taking things personally. I also plan to practice on working on my self esteem through positive affirmations and positive thinking. I believe for the most part, I am slowly getting a better grip on handling my stress through my physical activity, deep breathing exercises, and yoga. I find that I am able to move on with my life instead of feeling sorry for myself and angry at life’s outcomes. I have learned that I am able to make the best of my situation by being positive and looking within for contentment and peace. Everyday has its ups and downs; I am learning not to stress out over the little things and to let go of the things that are not important. In addition, I have found that the Serenity Prayer has helped me through many tough struggles. I am becoming a stronger person from all the lessons I am learning from life and its many challenges.

The Crime of the Century relaxation exercise was a wonderful and beneficial experience. I thoroughly enjoy guided relaxation exercises as they help me to achieve a sense of peace and calmness without having to be physically active. As a matter of fact, the rainbow meditation is one of my favorite relaxation exercises as it allows me to use color imagery of the seven chakras to feel grounded, centered, loved, meaningful purpose, balanced, and connected. Throughout the exercise, I was able to visualize the seven colors and related parts of the body to foster a sense of relaxation and calmness in my body…not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. I experienced such a deep state of relaxation that my arms and legs felt heavy and numb, and I could not feel the chair that I was sitting on during the exercise. Afterward, I felt at peace, energized, and ready to face my day. I highly recommend this relaxation exercise to anyone who wants to experience a sense of peace and relaxation; not to mention the health benefits they will achieve as their body shifts into homeostasis.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reflection Post

Hello everyone,

My experience with the Journey On Relaxation exercise helped me to create a sense of relaxation as I followed the guided suggestions. During the exercise, I found that I was able to use the power of suggestion to control my tense shoulders to become relaxed, which helped me to relax in the process. However, I envisioned a ray of warm light radiating from my abdomen up to my shoulders, and then down to my arms and hands. I can honestly say that my palms felt warm, however, I was not sure about the heaviness as I found that I could move my arms if I wanted to...but the relaxed feeling was comfortable, and I did not want to move my arms. I also noticed how calm my body felt; my breathing was deep and controlled as I focused on my breath and the guided suggestions. This exercise was beneficial to me as I have been experiencing some stress. I felt calmer and more relaxed afterward and was able to concentrate on my work.

The true test is when I try this exercise on my own without the soothing guided suggestions and calming music. I wonder if I would be able to recreate a similar experience simply by using my mind without music and guided suggestions to promote a sense of relaxation. Somehow I feel that it is possible as it is not really that difficult to promote a sense of relaxation. If you engage your brain to focus on deep breathing and awareness, you can clear your mind of distracting and disruptive thoughts. It does take some work; but it is possible. Other than that, focusing on warmth and heaviness was what worked for me as opposed to redirecting blood flow.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Welcome Statement

Welcome everyone!

My name is Allana, and I am pursuing a degree in Health and Wellness at Kaplan University. I am a mother of four awesome kids who are constantly motivating me to embrace knowledge and learn all I can to do to make this world a better place to live in. The man I have been married to for 18 years is a wonderful husband, father and friend who supports my dreams and passions. My interests include holistic health, nutrition and fitness from a professional standpoint, but I also enjoy running, yoga, creative writing, reading, listening to music, gardening, cooking healthy meals, and spending quality time with my family. In order to maintain a "healthy" and sustainable lifestyle, I decided to adopt a vegetarian/vegan diet, which has been working well for me and my family for many years now. As such, I make sure to include a variety of plant-based foods in my family's meals, which includes all the food groups. I try to balance family life and school by making it a priority to include daily leisure time for me, which has helped to reduce my stress levels . I also love nature and animals...after all, without them, life could not exist.