The Ultimate Well-Being Guide

I’d like to share with your my ultimate well-being guide.  

All of the points below are called practices with big emphasis on the word practice. 

Consider the following approach when reading this guide:

  1.  There is no right or wrong. Only what’s right or wrong for You.
  2. Don’t take my word for anything. Try it for yourself.
  3. Take one practice and implement it into your daily routine for at least 21 days.

You Ultimate Well-Being Guide

What does the term “well-being” means? 

Well-being is a good or satisfactory condition of existence. A state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity.

So, buckle up and let’s explore the path towards well-being.

1) Practice#1: Mindfulness (Yoga)

Definition: Yoga is a practice of sustained attention.

Why is it important? We can eat all the right foods, make good money and be “successful” in the traditional sense of view.  However, if our mindset isn’t right, no amount of good food and exercise will help us. We practice yoga to find our own truth, to hear our own voice and stop listening to our parents, teachers, and media. Mindfulness or yoga practice brings the attention inward.

Exercise: Click on the link for the sample five-minute practice.

2) Practice#2: Curiosity 

Definition: A strong desire to know or learn something.

Why is it important? Curiosity keeps our minds active.  

I’ve always been super curious about how the world works. I love learning about health, fitness, human and dog’s nutrition, writing, the internet, space travel, self-driving cars, VR, science, fiction. In fact, I keep a daily log of things that I am curious about.

In fact, one of my main mantras is:

Don’t Be Furious, Be Curious.” 

With Mr. Google and Miss. Wikipedia at our fingertips, there is no excuse not to learn.  We can dig even deeper with so many books available on any particular subject. Furthermore, dig even deeper by taking classes. 

Curiosity allows us to see new worlds and possibilities. It can bring excitement into our lives! In fact, curiosity brought me to New York and my dream life in Colorado.

Exercise: Share five to ten things you are very curious about in the comment field below.

Questions to consider: What is _________? Why is _________ made that way? Who invented _________? Where does _________ come from? How does _________work? What, why, when, who, where, and how are the best friends of curious people.

3) Practice#3: Kindness

Definition: Don’t be an asshole.

Why is it important? I don’t know. It just makes me feel good to be kind. 

I don’t consider myself a good and kind human. Likewise, I don’t think I am an asshole. Then again, I can be judgemental and angry. So, I practice mindfulness and I practice kindness.

To me, kindness is not something that is given. It a trait that we can cultivate.

Exercise: Practice small and random acts of kindness by making another person happy. Perhaps, send a note to an old friend or tell someone who you love them.

4) Practice#3: Blame Game (STOP)

Definition: Giving up control, playing the victim, an excuse for not taking charge of your life.

Why is it important? If we play the blame game, we can find millions of excuses why we are not taking actions.

We blame our genetics, upbringing, the government, our poor parents and even our friends. But, this is a victim’s mentality. Or an excuse for not taking responsibility for your life. Who cares what we can’t change? Let’s focus on what we can. How can we make better choices in the present moment? 

My dad was an incredibly sick man. He died horrifically and slowly in the hospital bed while my sister and I had to watch his decline. I didn’t know anything about food, fitness or wellbeing.  I was 20 years old, and I was dying. Yes, I have a predisposition for diabetes, depression and could’ve been a victim of my upbringing. But I chose to make better life choices than my dad did. That’s all. 

So, let’s not worry about accidents that might happen, the bad weather. Instead, let’s focus on what small action we can take to make things better right now.

Exercise: Next time you catch yourself playing the blame game, ask yourself, what can I do at this moment to make things better, more productive? 

5) Practice#5: Sleep

Definition: The nervous system is relatively inactive. The eyes closed, the muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.

Why is it important: Sleep deprivation is simply bad news. It can damage our moods, bodies, and spirits. I don’t have any issues falling asleep unless I eat or watch TV late at night (which is after 6:00 pm for me).

Exercise: If you have trouble sleeping. Firstly, check-in your nightly input: don’t eat or watch anything 2 to 3 hours before bed. Secondly, remove all electronic devices from your bedroom. Thirdly, you can try drinking cherry juice or chamomile tea before bed. Finally, if you toss and turn, get up and write what bothers you. Or you can read something non-violent to help you fall asleep.

6) Practice#6: Writing 

Definition: Functional writing is to record and explore information or ideas. This can be a part of the learning process. The creative writing displays imagination or invention.

Why is it important? I truly don’t know what I think unless I write it. Nothing gets done by thinking or talking. Writing things down organizes a mind. The creative writing can be mixed in with the functional writing.

Exercise: write out in 10 sentences or more, in the comment field below, how you would like to spend your perfect vacation day. For example, 6:00 am – Wake up, 7:00 am – Practice writing, 8:00 am – take a walk, etc.

7) Practice#7: Movement (Exercise)

Definition: An act of changing physical place.

Why is it important? Movement is the simplest practice. Our bodies are designed to move. Excess sitting is now linked with lots of diseases like obesity, back pain, cardiovascular disease, and depression. If we spend one hour per day in the gym and sit for the rest of the day, we are not moving. We need to incorporate movement throughout the day.

Exercise:

  • Stand up, keep your spine straight, inhale and take your arms overhead as you exhale take your arms down (try linking the breath and movement), and repeat for five times. ***Congratulations, you moved!
  • Next, head out for a 10-minutes walk.
  • Next, get a second 10-minutes walk.
  • Simple? So, please do it!

8) Practice#8: Eating  

Definition: What we eat (food). Forget about protein, carbs, fats and other nonsense a very few people really get a grip on.

Image: Ray Cronise

There are only two food groups:

  1. Food – example: vegetables, fruits, legumes, rice, nuts, seeds, etc.
  2. Non-food – example: foods containing soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, modified cornstarch, sugar and natural flavor (mayonnaise). Or something like a chocolate chip flavored cookie, which has nothing to do with chocolates or cookies.  To name a few ingredients: hydrogenated palm kernel oil (code for trans fat), sugar, chocolate flavored chips (more sugar…), dextrose, soy lecithin (addictive), partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, etc. 

P.S. Why the cookie is called chocolateflavored? The FDA requires for a “food’ to contain cocoa butter to be called “chocolate.”

Image: Ray Cronise

Why is it important? We can’t really function too long without food. Logically, it seems like our bodies are not meant to digest hydrogenated palm kernel oil? So, we need to focus on eating real foods. The digestive system is one of the most important and fundamental systems in our human system. We can’t be kind and loving when we are constipated. 

There are so many diets and opinions. How can we choose what to eat?

Well, keep it simple and eat real foods is my answer. I like research. But, I also like to use my common sense and find what works for me. 

Personally, I’ve tried over a dozen different diets. I say that whole foods plant-based is the optimal diet for well-being. 

Exercise: Make a plant-based meal and post your picture in the comment field below. It can be just veggies or fruit with a slice of bread. 

9) Practice#9: Not Eating

Definition: Not eating or fasting.

Why is it important? Fasting helps to renew our systems physically and mentally. Supersize it doesn’t work so well for us. Frequent feeding doesn’t work either. We tend to consume a much higher amount of sugar and fewer micronutrients when we snack. When our bodies are fed every 2-3 hours, it is not encouraged to burn any of its stored fat for energy. On the other hand, eating two to three meals a day with a good time between meals if forcing the body to burn fat.  

Exercise: Have a late lunch and skip dinner or have dinner and skip breakfast. The idea is to have 16/18 hours of the non-feeding window.

10) Practice#10:  Money Matters 

Definition: Wealth (money matters) is the total value of all physical and assets owned minus debts.

Why is it important?  We have to pay our electricity bills, buy good food and live in a nice shelter. 
 
Typically, no-one discusses the money matters in the wellness world. As a result, a lot of us think that money isn’t necessary. Most of us re afraid to get paid for the creative work and we really scared when it comes to investing.
 
Perhaps, you can’t buy happiness with money. But you can sure buy higher quality foods and live in a better neighborhood.  Now, the question is how much money do you really need to be happy?
 
Exercise:

11) Practice#11: Reading

Definition: A skill of reading written or printed matter silently or aloud.

Why is it important? We are exposed to a wide range of words through stories. Reading improves our imagination, helps us to develop our vocabulary and concentration. It can even reduce stress.

To me, reading is like honey for my mind and my soul. I read at least for an hour a day. Typically one fiction and one non-fiction.

Exercise: Set the timer and read for 45 minutes per day, turn you iPhone off and immerse yourself in the story.

12) Practice#12: Wilderness Therapy

Photo: Anna Sheinman

Definition: Wilderness therapy is adventure-based therapy. 

Why is it important: We are creatures of this world. To answer this question, next time you come back from the walk in a forest or a park, take a moment and see how you feel.

My curiosity led me the Rocky Mountains. I took one of my yoga therapy training with Mr. Desikachar at the Colorado yoga conference. I’ve spent all my vacation time in Colorado afterward. Given that, I was getting more and more depressed coming back to the New York city. 

So, my husband and I finally made a decision to move to Colorado sometime in 2012. It was challenging to walk away from my family, friends, and flourishing yoga business. Not to mention, we both had really good jobs and took a significant risk. But I had to chase my dream to be closer to the mountains. 

As a result, it was one of the best decision we’ve ever made!  My husband was on the same page with me. We love our mountain house. There are miles and miles of trails at the footsteps of my backyard.

Exercise: I understand that moving might not be an option for you. But try to spend more time in nature. Perhaps, instead of going out to eat for lunch, opt to go on a walk with our friend. Or go for a stroll in the park if you live in the city.

13) Practice#13: Relationships

Definition: How two or more people, concepts, objects, creatures are connected. The state connection.

If you want if your yoga practice is working, look at your relationships. In other words, yoga isn’t about fancy poses – it is about relationships.

To me, relationships start with how I relate to myself and my daily dialog. Naturally, I don’t consider myself a non-judgemental and kind person. Nor do I consider myself a complete asshole. However, my tendencies are to be angry and more on the dark side. So, that’s why I need my daily morning therapy to tune myself and cultivate kindness and love.

I’ve been in a pleather of unsuccessful relationships including one extra marriage and many friendships. I was cheated on, and I cheated (don’t cheat, it is draining). People betrayed me, and I betrayed others. I stayed with some for too long.

Eventually, I cleaned up my life. Accidentally, I met a friend, my soul-mate and my partner. Ron and I have been together for over 15 years. I got lucky.

Exercise: List all the people in your life, add two columns 1) inspiring 2) draining. Go over your list and see how you can remove anyone draining from your life.

14) Practice#14: De-Clutter

Definition:  Karen Kingston defined clutter in one of my favorite books Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui.

Clutter is anything that does not fit into one of the following four groups:

  • Things that you no longer love or use
  • Things that are disorganized, messy or untidy
  • A great number of things in a space that is too small.
  • Things that are not finished

One of my friends at work (who later became my husband) introduced me to Feng Shui. I’ve heard about it in the past but disregarded it with a laugh.  Seriously, arranging my space according to an age-old Chinese system?

However, Ron (my friend and my husband) handed me the book at the right time. In short, clutter makes one or another area of your life dead. For example, when I was working in New York office, I had a big knife in an empty cartoon box. I never really paid attention to it. Not to mention, co-incidentally, my marriage and sex life were hitting the rock-bottom. In fact, I was not even aware of the knife in the empty box in my “love” corner. 

So, I got rid of the empty box and replaced it with a bamboo plant in a beautiful vase. I set my intention to clean up my love life. Coincidentally, I got a divorce, broke up all my affairs and started dating Ron (with whom we still together). I think it is a combination of setting an intention and taking action. After this incident, I am a strong believer of decluttering.

Exercises: Likewise, we may feel angry and unhappy. It might be due to the clutter. Supposedly, it is blocking the flow of energy (sheng chi). Anyhow, what do you get to loose if you clean?

15) Practice#15: Build Daily Routines

Definition: Something that liberates you from mind’s chatter allowing you to focus on your tasks.

Why is it important?  I’ve been working from home for nearly seven years. I had to be on the clock but now my schedule is completely flexible. To me, routines are gold. Most of the days I don’t feel like practicing yoga or working out. But, I have a schedule, and I stick to it. It allows me to get shit done – that’s it. I wake up, go to sleep, walk and eat at the same time. Also, I read for at least 45 to 90 minutes daily between 4:00 and 6:00 pm.

Well, at least most of the days. Of course, from time to time I fuck things up by watching three episodes of some science-fiction sitcom or eat a bag of salty nuts. It doesn’t happen as often. I always ask myself “why” I am deliberately sabotaging my system.

It allows me to get shit done – that’s it. For the most part, I wake up, go to sleep, write, exercise and eat at the same time. Also, I read for at least 45 to 90 minutes daily.

Well, at least most of the days. Of course, from time to time I fuck things up by watching three episodes of some science-fiction sitcom or eat a bag of salty nuts. It doesn’t happen as often. I always ask myself “why” I am deliberately sabotaging my system.

Exercise: The first thing in the morning, write down exactly how you would like to spend your day. Follow your schedule. See how you feel.

Thanks for stopping by! What resonates with you the most?




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