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How to Hygge

Having a fantastic health and wellness team at your side is a wonderful thing, but true healing has much deeper roots; ones only you can reach.


Buddha said, "Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without."

Mahatma Ghandhi said, "'Physician, heal thyself' is more true in matters religious than mundane."

And RuPaul says, "If you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?"

In biblical teachings, Jesus Christ offers the gift of spiritual self-healing bestowed to humanity through the grace of God. If one believes in the power of God within them, they may accomplish miraculous things.

Healing is just as much spiritual as it is physical, if not more. Most ancient cultures believe that physical healing is solely the manifestation of spiritual cleansing within. As a physical therapist I like to think it's a gentle balance of both, but the longer I practice the more I realize I am not the healer I thought I was trained to be. We like to think that's the case in medicine, it's what we're taught - at least in the West. But the truth is, we are simply teachers; facilitators. We can no more heal someone than we can change their eye color. What we can do is provide guidance, understanding, and offer a path to re-connection to self. That being said, please don't take this to mean modern medicine serves no purpose. It absolutely does. Even ancient healing practices combine the use of herbs and other modalities overseen by a highly trained professional. The point I wish to make is that true healing should not simply be a passive event. Any healthcare practitioner will tell you that the patient must want to get better. They must comply with the instructions offered and look within to find their health. We cannot make you healthy, only you can do that. I tell my patients all the time that my main goal is to teach them what they need to know to heal themselves. It's up to them to do the work. A cardiologist may prescribe medication to control blood pressure, but that does not heal the issue. The patient must adopt a lifestyle change which corrects the root cause, usually having to do with nutrition, stress management, and physical activity. And here's where the most important piece comes in: long-term change. This is the part one cannot hope to achieve until they have gone within themselves. How many times have so many of us adopted a temporary lifestyle change to lose weight because we aren't happy with the way we see ourselves in the mirror, only to revert back to our old ways and gain all of that hard-earned weight loss back within a few months? I know I have. Many times. See? Even as an expert in health and nutrition, I'm no saint. No one's perfect. And any spiritual teacher will tell you that this happens because the true healing never took place. That's the really hard part, and that's why self-healing is a practice and an art form that will continue to change throughout your entire life. You're never really done healing, because you're never done learning. And what a gift that is! But learning means you must have made a mistake somewhere to learn from, and mistakes usually result in some kind of abrasion whether physical, spiritual, or both. I've had the privilege to work with people from all over the world, and most of them say the same thing about Americans: we work too hard. Our culture is founded on the desire to seek independence, excel quickly, be the best, and somewhere in the last fifty years we've strayed from a balance of work ethic into a society that works itself to death. We're overweight, suffer tremendous health issues, and nearly everyone is diagnosed with some form of anxiety which is either heavily medicated or ignored altogether. We're insomniacs who are addicted to technology and have some of the highest suicide rates in the world. And those of us who work in healthcare are some of the most overworked and over-stressed people out there! Insurance companies dictate how long we can spend with a patient and what services we are allowed to offer, stealing our autonomy, and quite frankly, breaking us down to the point of emotional dissociation from ourselves, much less those who need us the most. And as someone who has been on the patient side a few times myself, I feel and share your frustration a thousand-fold, which is why I finally decided to get out of the insurance game altogether. But that's another topic...

So, what can you start doing right now to regain a sense of control in your health and your healthcare? Awaken the self-healer within you! The power is already within you.

The Power of Meditation "Be still and know, I am God" - Psalm 46:10 Learning to pause, be still, and reconnect with the body, mind, and the God-spirit within you can be very difficult on your own, but it is a learned process that can be taught to anyone at any age. In the beginning, it helps to have resources available for teaching you how to use breathing and imagery to achieve your goals. Many people feel they simply cannot meditate because they will never be able to “turn off their mind”. This is where it is important to understand that mediation is not the absence of thought. It is the deliberate and conscious focus of attention and intention. And while prayer may certainly be used as a component to meditation, it is also important to understand that meditation is not prayer.

"Prayer is when you talk to God, Meditation is when you listen." --Diana Robinson "Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be action. With mindfulness we know what to do and what not to do to help." --Thich Nhat Hanh Forms of Mediation: It’s not all just uncomfortable sitting and chanting Still Meditation:

  • What people typically think of as meditation

  • Focuses on breathing and relaxation of body

  • Stills the mind by centering on one aspect of self or environment (usually the breath)

  • Can be anywhere from 1 minute to many hours

  • Driven by the individual

  • Good for grounding and centering

  • Can be done in any position, but is traditionally in sitting

  • Can be done in silence or with chanting/singing (“Mantras”)

  • Can use sound healing (Tibetan Singing Bowels) or other music

Active Meditation:

  • Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi (to name just a few)

  • Some find this more suitable for their busy mind

  • Research supports these forms of movement in aiding with

  • Depression, anxiety, sleep disorders

  • Gastrointestinal issues such as IBS and Crones

  • Chronic pain syndromes such as Fibromyalgia

  • Balance and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s

  • Many forms and levels suitable for every person

  • Can be done individually or in a group

The trick to keep in mind is that the correct way of meditating is the one that works best for you. Don't allow judgement from yourself or others prevent you from finding peace within yourself; that would kind of defeat the purpose of the practice. And understand that it is a practice. It will never be perfect, and it doesn't have to be. It only needs to be meaningful for you.

Hygge (HUE-gah) is a Danish word which translates to a feeling of comfort, coziness, and self-care. It comes from the Norse word hugr which also means soul, mind, and consciousness. No matter what the translation, Hygge really encompasses the sensations each individual might feel when they are truly at ease with everything around them. For me, Hygge is the scent of earthy essential oils and smudge sticks, the soft hum of ambient music, colorful rooms dimly lit by the glow of rock salt lamps, the cool texture of crystals and stones, warm herbal tea, and a huge shirt with nothing on underneath. I enjoy solitude and re-energize from it. For my husband, Hygge is a buzzing coffee shop, the rhythmic thump of a bass drum, the scent of a cigar, a cold beer heavy on the hops, and deep conversation. Those all exhaust me, and solitude for him is like torture, so Hygge is different for everyone! (and further evidence that opposites attract). The best way to get into a healing and consciousness mind-set is to surround yourself with things that bring you comfort and joy. One of my favorite things right now are the flowing, deep, royal purple, velvet curtains in my bedroom. They compliment the soothing blue-green of the walls so well, and make me entirely happy. And that's what its all about! You don't need extravagance or great expense to have Hygge in your life. Just find what feels good, no matter how simple. If you're in a place in your life where you have lost touch with what exactly makes you happy, that's a huge place to start in your healing journey. Take time to go out into the world (alone), and simply experience things for the sake of deciding how they make you feel inside. You'll soon begin re-associating with that disassociated part of you that you forgot was even there, and be prepared, the reunion could be quite emotional. There are professionals who can help if you decide that what you discover about yourself is a bit hard to swallow, and there is never shame in seeking the help you need to heal.


Some of my Favorite Resources:

The Alchemist - by Paulo Coelho

The Secret - by Rhonda Byrne

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