52 Lists, Week 7 // List the Things that Make You Feel Healthy: Mind, Body & Soul

Something I have noticed about myself is that my happiness is not reliant on seeking out what makes me happy.  It is more reliant on what makes me feel healthy.  Have you ever thought about that?  There are so many elements that contribute to happiness, or a joyful contentment with your life.  It's not just about spoling yourself rotten with presents and treats.  Oh, if it were that simple :)  Contentment and happiness have so much more to do with trusting yourself, trusting that you have made efforts to invest in your mind, body, and soul, even making efforts that may feel annoying to you.  Great things are hard to make happen without a little challenge, some grunt work and a bit of effort!

A few months ago, I realized I have a negative reaction to gluten.  I don't have celiac.  But I had been feeling ill every night for a few months before I realized it was all the gluten I had been eating.  I felt sick to my stomach every night, I was grumpy and complaining every night, I felt bloated and like my stomach was full of painful bubbles constantly.  And lets be real here, it's hard to feel pretty when you feel like crap everyday.  Also, it's not very fair to the person you love to be complaining to them all the time when you can prevent yourself from feeling bad!  When I realized it was gluten, I was really frustrated.  I had been making fun of the fact that eeeeeveryone seems to be gluten intolerant these days.  But, dang it, I just feel a million times better and happier when I don't eat it.  Sometimes when I am having a really bad day, I really miss the comfort of a real gluten-full croissant or a chocolate chip cookie, or a pie (...can you tell I freakin' LOVE pastries?  Because I do.) and I'll find myself guiltily buying and inhaling a few cookies or a mini pie.  And sure, for the 30 seconds I am eating, I feel comforted.  But then 30 mins later and for the next 3 days I feel not good at all.  So it really does me no good to seek out gluten when I am having a bad day because my day can only get worse from eating it!

Do you find yourself in stupid cycles like that, seeking out comfort in things that you KNOW won't make you feel any better in the long run, happiness or health-wise?  Maybe it is time to make a list of all of the things that you KNOW make you feel healthy in your mind, body, and soul so that when you have those moments when you need a pick me up, you can turn to your healthy list rather than your equivalent to my gluten love/hate relationship! :)  Sometimes choosing a challenge (like going for a jog rather than reaching for the tv remote) can result in the best confidence and comfort boost because you are reminded, hey, I AM in control of my life, my emotions, my choices, my health and my happiness.  Seek the greater reward, not the momentary thing that you know will only leave you feeling crappy.

I can tell you that one year after writing this post, I still am more likely to gravitate to those easy fixes than doing the healthy thing to satisfy my cravings, or to boost me up when I am feeling down.  Man, chocolate just always wins!  Old habits die hard!
I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea of happiness, contentment, and health.  It's funny how I seem to go through similar patterns of thought each year at the same time.  I was in Las Vegas last week for a trade show and I had this moment when I just broke down crying because of happiness and gratefulness for everything in my life.  At this point last year, I was dealing with a lot of deep pains, fears, and anxieties.  And last week I just had this incredible moment of utter and complete joy.  Here were all the factors that played into that moment:

-  I love traveling and seeing new places, and I had never been to Vegas before!
-  I felt so grateful that I get to have my cousin as my business partner, we just are an incredible partnership.
-  Everyday I feel so incredibly lucky to have my boyfriend in my life as my partner, lover, and friend, as cheesy as it sounds.  I just adore him.
-  I LOVE being a buyer for my store so getting to scour rows and rows of goods for products that really stand out is my faaaaavorite.
-  I love getting to meet new people and make new connections, and trade shows are like the most intense version of that ever.
-  I got to see a few of my blog friends while in Vegas which is always a treasure for me.  It's crazy the amazing relationships you can build from just finding friends through blogging, Twitter, or Instagram.  I got to get lunch with Mara, I ran into Kendi on the floors, and Kaelah and I hung out quite a bit while we were there!
-  One of my best friends and college roommates, Brittany, was in Vegas working with her shoe company at the same trade show that I was attending.  So we got to hangout a lot while I was there which was so great.  We might even get to collab in the future! :)
-  I got to stay in a stupidly awesome hotel room at the Cosmopolitan that was bigger than my apartment by about 400 square feet!  The view from the balcony looked out over the Bellagio water show which was amazing to watch from above.
-  I was taken out to dinner at Nobu by an amazing company I am hoping to collab with in the near future and the food was INSANE.
-  And on the last night there, Kaelah and I went to see Cirque Du Soleil, which was also a first time event for me.

It was on that last night that just felt in awe of my life at this moment in time.  At the end of the Cirque show I just had this moment of realization that wow, my life right now is incredible, outrageous and I need to be and am SO grateful for it all in this second in time.  This pile of awesome stuff all happening at once is not normal, it's rare, and rad!  I went back to my hotel room after, made myself a bubble bath and sat in it and just cried and cried with gratefulness.  I just said thank you over and over again in my head, projecting that thanks to all the people I have in my life, the experiences I get to live out, the struggles that have made me who I am, and to the greater being I believe in.  I don't think there is one right path to living, one right path for belief, or for contentment or happiness.  But I do believe that our joy and overall health is created through choices, the choice to acknowledge all that has shaped us, the choice to see the good even in times of deep pain, the choice to do good for others, the choice to love oneself, the choice to take action even when we are scared, the choice to be kind, the choice to turn trauma and hurts into reasons to do great things for yourself and others.

My friends, your health of mind, body and soul is a choice.  I honestly have battled with depression for my entire life outside of the traumatic and the wonderful experiences that I have had.  And a year and a half ago, after doing incredible healing through therapy and reaching the healthiest point in my mind that I could get to on my own, I decided with much counsel from family, friends, and doctors, that mild anti-depressants were something that were necessary in my own life.  I am not ashamed of needing to take anti-depressants.  And of course, I would prefer not to at all.  But this was the right choice for me.  My happiness is not determined by a pill and my emotions are not muted by anti-depressants.  I still have reasons to feel pain, and I feel them deeply, that has not changed.  But my stability and clarity of self is definitely aided by medication.  And I'm ok with that.

I want you to know that seeking health means different things for everyone.  For me, seeking health has meant therapy, mild anti-depressants, a very determined attitude, an open heart and mind, vulnerability, honesty, serious hard work and massive amounts of gratefulness.  In seeking health, do what is right for you!  Seek council, but also trust your intuition.  And really, don't be afraid to reach out to others if you need help in seeking health of your mind, body, and soul.  Community is a powerful word for a reason, we need it.  And you deserve the best.  You deserve those rare and special moments like the one I had crying in a bubble bath with gratefulness for all things!  Run towards health.

Download and print out Week 7's list above or write out your list however you may like.  Then leave a link to your Week 7 list in the comments so we can all check out each others lists!  If you post your list on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, use the hashtag: #52lists and be sure to include @mooreaseal so I can be sure to come say hello :)  Happy listing!

You're welcome to join in the 52 Lists project at anytime.  Visit the 52 Lists page to check out all the lists!


Lisa said...

I just posted my first list. I'm so excited to keep going for the rest of the year. http://unfinishedlisa.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/52-lists-week-7/

Hannah B. said...

Here's my list!


Miriam Schulman said...

I did this.. love sharing lists http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2014/02/what-makes-your-feel-healthy-mind-body.html

Jessica Whalen said...

Here's our list!

Let’s fight for this. Let’s fight for a healthy and long life, full of joy and peace and moments that fill you to the brim with fulfillment and then spill right out of you in a flood of self confidence and true satisfaction in the life you’re living and those you’re living it with.


Bakary said...

Thank you for sharing your story and for your honesty. There is so much stigma around depression. This list was an eye opener for me. I am making progress (which is great) but progress is slow (which is fine, as long as I acknowledge this and give myself time to heal). Week 7 // http://bakarycafe.co.uk/52-lists-project-week-seven-list-the-things-that-make-you-feel-healthy/

Bakary said...

Thank you for sharing your story and for your honesty. This is refreshing. There is so much stigma around depression. Week seven was an eye opener for me. I am doing great, but at the same time, progress is slow. I need to acknowledge this and give myself time to heal.

Karolina said...

Here is my 7. list :) http://pastelowegroszki.blogspot.com/2014/03/52-lists-project-week-7-wyzwanie-52.html