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Maximizing Your Wellness Dollars

As a general rule, we like sales. Companies know it and use coupons all the time. I’m not opposed, in fact we offer several discount programs at my wellness centers. They work. They are a benefit to all involved. However, when it comes to getting the most out of the professional services you pay for, there is an important component that most of us don’t pay attention to. That component is the supporting practices and home based activities that you can do to enhance your service. Instead of always looking at ways to decrease the prices of the professional services we buy, we should consider things that we can do at home as another great way to get more bang for our buck.

It means taking personal responsibility for making your visits to the chiropractor, massage therapist, and personal trainer more effective. I can’t tell you how many people rush into a massage service, and then fly out of the building right back to work. They could enhance the benefits of their massage significantly if they built supporting activities into their day that compliment that massage instead of just relying on the service itself to deliver all the results. By simply arranging a few things in your day or week to compliment the goals of your services you can improve the results, shorten the therapy sequences, and reduce the overall cost. This secondary way of maximizing dollars may be the most underlooked way to save yourself some money.

While only you know the major goals of your wellness plan, here are some basic practices to showcase what I’m talking about.

Getting a Chiropractic adjustment? If you get adjusted don’t go to the gym right after. You should avoid intense, jerking, and rough exercises that jar, aler, or disrupt the correction you just paid for.

Getting a massage? They calm your nervous system and increases detoxification. Avoid alcohol, intense stimulation, or anything else that casuses increased stress for 24-36 hours after that massage.

On perscription meds? They need to stay active in your system to remain effective. Plan ahead so you don’t run out. Set an alarm so you don’t forget to take them. You may need to stay on them longer if you don’t let them do their job.

Taking college courses? Do your homework and show up to class. You are only going to be paying on those tuition bills for for the next 10-20 years, so make sure you get every penny worth of knowledge out of those dollars.

Our lives are busy. We are moving fast and getting pulled in a hundred directions. Sometimes we are too busy to clip coupons, even though they are a great way to save money. You may not always find the time to apply the personal practices I am suggesting here, but bringing home a few supporting practices to enhance your professional services makes every dollar stretch further. Take the idea into consideration and ask your providers, and yourself, what you can do at home to support the services you are receiving. In the long run, it will pay off far more than any coupon.

Putting Intention Into Tradition

As it turned out, we ended up with a monochromatic tree this year.  It is filled with beautiful silver-blue  ribbons, bulbs, and lights.  There was one single exception; a blast of color that was easy to see.   At first glance the color seemed out of place.  It didn’t come from a specific ornament; it came from a specific intention.  There were several ornaments all in varied colors and styles spaced evenly around the tree making a stark contrast to the monochrome tone of everything else.

You see we don’t have a lot of ornaments that actually mean anything to us anymore.  We have a few that have survived our many moves across the country.  A few that were saved from childhood by our parents, and a few that our children have recently made.  Rummaging through our Christmas tote, there are mostly three big piles of ornaments: generic, left-over bits, and purchased on sale.  They may be pretty, but they have no meaning to us other than the fact that they are the decorations we put on the tree.  We stuff them back into the box and forget all about them for the rest of the year.

The stark contrast between our colorful personalized ornaments and the generic silver ones served to illuminate the emotions attached to the ornaments of color.  It showcased the varied family ornaments.  The tree suddenly became a space that pulled us into the intention of family.  Our tree now reminds us of our history, our family traditions, and our rites of passage.  It is not just a pretty decoration this year.  It has become a tool to lead us into positive space.  And it was all brought about by my wife’s intention to put a little more family meaning into the process of decorating for Christmas.

Our personal example showcases an important idea.  We have the power to intentionally create space.  The activities we undertake and the spaces that we create can be uninspired and generic ones.  They can drain us; becoming energy depleting work that we go through the motions to complete.  However, if we place our intentions into them they can renew us and inspire us.   If we layer our personal desires into the completion of activities it gives them and us new vitality.

Practice:  If you like the idea of creating a more intentional Christmas decorating tradition.  Try including a Christmas ornament exchange for your family.  Every year you will get a few more ornaments that were given to you for a reason by someone you love.  By making it a yearly tradition you will have memories attached to all of your decorations in no time.  They will help create positive emotions in your space for years to come.

Remember: We need meaning in our lives.  It keeps us healthy and inspired.  You can be the force in your family that creates and maintains the meaning within your family traditions.  All it takes is a little planning and a little bit of work to set it up.

Compassion Is Learned

The heart is a unique vessel.  It can never be filled to overflowing; it expands to hold as much love as you can grow.  By consciously increasing the amount of compassion in your heart, negative emotions get crowded out.  Compassion can becomes such a strong force within you that you begin to react with compassion instead of with negative emotions such as anger, resentment and frustration.

So how do we go about it?  How do we quiet and slow those negative emotional reactions that spring out of us when the rubber meets the road?  The answer may just surprise you; for many it may even be unpalatable.  Basically, you need to learn to love yourself first before you can love others.  Once you can show yourself compassion, then you can forgive and love others much more easily.

Begin with these basic practices and see what happens.

1: Pay extra attention to your self-talk.  We participate in a horrible amount of demeaning and negative talk towards ourselves.  Every time you catch yourself engaging in any sort of negative self talk, even gentle put downs.   Immediately say two nice things about yourself.

This practice is simple.  It does, however take time to sink in, so have patience and keep it up.  Eventually the affirmations will overpower the negatives.

2: Pamper yourself a little.  Allowing yourself a few comforts is very affirming.  Many of us habitually deny ourselves even the simplest of pleasures.  We put everyone else ahead of ourselves as we serve our families, our bosses and our fears.  While you may not need a monthly pedicure, you are worth it.  And when it comes down to it, you do need to value, love and respect yourself.  Show that you do with action.  The actions will speak louder than any words.  That includes any negative talk lingering in your head.  Keep proving it with action and it will sink in.

Pampering yourself doesn’t need to be a huge or expensive thing.  While I firmly believe every mom should get a massage every month, the pampering can be shown in small and simple ways and be just as effective.

3: When someone annoys you, look at yourself first.  Look back to a time when you acted the same way.  Look back to a time when you showed the same behaviors.  We are all capable of being the bad guy.  By looking at ourselves we gain access to commonality.  We have this capacity to be the bad guy in common with that other person, thus we can relate. The more commonality we have with people, the easier it is to find compassion towards them.

Caution:  The level to which these practices strike you as unappealing and difficult is the same level to which you need them.

Remember:  Using compassion to help release drama at the heart center can only be a good thing.  If it helps reduce our susceptibility to breast cancer as well as filling our lives with more positive emotion, so be it.